It’s quite difficult to associate Ford with cryptocurrencies, but the automotive giant has just filed a patent for a cryptocurrency that would enable cars to communicate and cooperate with each other.
Submitted on Tuesday, the patent called “Vehicle-to-vehicle cooperation to marshal traffic” outlines numerous ways in which cars would be able to send signals to one another in a transactional manner.
It begins by describing a “cooperative adaptive cruise control” that would automatically manage acceleration and deceleration in high-traffic situations to minimize congestions between vehicles.
The most captivating part, however, comes when it describes the system itself:
“This system would temporarily allow for particular cooperative vehicles (sometimes referred to as ‘consumer vehicles’) to drive at higher speeds in less-occupied lanes of traffic and also to merge and pass freely when needed. Other participating cooperative vehicles (sometimes referred to as ‘merchant vehicles’) voluntarily occupy slower lanes of traffic to [facilitate] the consumer vehicle to merge into their lanes and pass as needed.”
The bottom line is, the system allows drivers to sell their time by choosing to move to a slower lane, accepting payment from vehicles that have no intention of overtaking them.
Ford’s idea would work through a system called “Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass” (CMMP), which functions as a token.
“The CMMP tokens are used to validate and authorize a transaction in which, at consumer vehicle request, the merchant vehicles either occupy slower lanes of traffic themselves or allow the consumer vehicle to merge into their own lane and pass as necessary. The participating merchant vehicles gain CMMP tokens from the consumer vehicle,” the patent application explains.
However, Ford fails to describe how this system would disincentivize would-be merchants from eliciting buyers by clogging up lanes and only enabling passage after payment.
The idea of inter-vehicle transactions contained in this patent is somewhat akin to what Ibinex founder Simon Grunfeld laid bare in an interview we published in late November.
While Ford’s system is designed more for vehicles on a highway, Grunfeld’s idea centers on autonomous vehicles in an intersection.
The fact that the motor giant has filed a patent for this particular specification means that we may one day see vehicles that make contact through transactions, perhaps making personal transportation more fluent.