DMI-Led Auto Show Panel Highlights the Importance of Blockchain-Based Digital Identities and Interoperability to a Connected Mobility Ecosystem

Published On: September 21st, 20223 min read

At the Detroit International Auto Show on Wednesday, Sept. 14, Joe Bannon, DMI’s Global Vice President of Business Development, led a panel discussion on mobility trends that have the potential to transform the automotive and transportation industries.

Joining Joe on stage to talk about blockchain-based digital identities, killer apps for mobility, and integrated transportation were Mamatha Chamarthi, Head of Software Business and Product Management – Global, Americas and Asia, at Stellantis, Tram Vo, co-founder of the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) and CEO of Citopia, and Jenny Heinze, DMI’s Global Head of Automotive & Software Mobility.

The panel members dissected the factors that are shaping a connected automotive ecosystem that integrates both open-source software components and cooperation with the public sector.

On killer app technologies, Tram Vo emphasized the importance of two features: “Such technology, first of all, needs to give OEMs the ability to control and monetize their connected data – and to do it in a privacy-preserving manner,” she said. “The killer technology also needs to prioritize interoperability” that will maximize participation across the industry – from local dealerships to charging stations and mobile software developers.

A New Economy of Movement

The panel also discussed how blockchain-based digital identities for people, vehicles and infrastructure are contributing to a new economy of movement. With blockchain-based digital identities, OEMs and others in the industry can work more seamlessly with transit agencies, insurers, toll road providers, smart cities and technology companies.

One example underway right now is MOBI’s work with the Oregon Department of Transportation to re-invent the tollways of the future. OReGO preserves Oregon roads by creating a fair and sustainable funding model that is based on actual use – miles driven – instead of gallons consumed.

DMI’s Jenny Heinze spoke to the importance that such solutions be supported on the local, state and federal level in alignment with the industry’s leaders.

Mamatha Chamarthi, meanwhile, highlighted Stellantis’ ground-breaking work with consumers via their “Freedom of Mobility Forum,” which addresses the most urgent “Mobility Issues” facing society today and connects Stellantis directly with consumers as well as private and public entities.

By the end of the panel discussion, the bigger picture was clear: For automakers to thrive amid the industry’s technological revolution, they must be willing to move full-throttle towards becoming both software companies and collaborators.

The comments from all three panelists proved to be especially timely coming on the heels of major announcements at the Detroit International Auto Show from both President Joe Biden and Michigan Governor Whitmer, who spoke of growing a multi-state EV charger network and of the critical role the State of Michigan will play in the transition to electric mobility.

Additionally, Trevor Pawl, Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME), discussed the Michigan Future Mobility Plan that his office developed alongside the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification (CFME) and other state partners. The plan outlines how Michigan plans to “leverage its position as a leader in next-generation mobility to set new global standards for economic development, workforce, energy and infrastructure.”

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