Ford says blockchain and ‘dynamic geofencing’ can improve city air quality
Ford's groundbreaking study has shown how emerging technologies of blockchain and dynamic geofencing can compliment plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles(PHEV) to help cleaner air in urban centers, offering cities, citizens, and operators benefits. The research finding follows a comprehensive three-year study through commercial PHEVs of Ford Transit and Tourneo over 400,000 kilometers deployed across the Pan-European countries like Cologne, Germany, and Valencia, Spain to collate data to help solve air quality challenges. Based on the local air quality to trigger running the zero-emission, improving urban air quality is among the learning.
“Our research has shown how plug-in hybrid vehicles and emerging connected technologies such as dynamic geofencing and blockchain can significantly transform cities. With zero-emission capability with no range anxiety, PHEVs offer a practical, flexible alternative to diesel, making them ideal as general-purpose vehicles for work in and around cities.” – Mark Harvey, Director, Enterprise connectivity, Ford of Europe.
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Blockchain complements Dynamic GeoFencing
Though low-emission zones are increasingly common in urban centers across Europe, Ford’s Geofencing feature helps cities maximize air quality benefits by customizing the option fitted as standard on Ford Transit PHEV. With this geofencing, the vehicle’s zero-emission electric-drive mode is automatically activated whenever it enters a low-emission zone without intervention from the driver. It is a step ahead in showing how the Distributed Ledger Technology(DLT) complements geofencing to further improve air quality in the Cologne fleet trial. Instead of a fixed low-emission zone triggering the vehicles’ zero-emission modes, the prosecution also tested and recorded in blockchain dynamic geofencing by continually adjusting the boundaries based on air quality by the pilot captured by ClimaCell and the City of Cologne.
Blockchain recorded when a trial vehicle entered or left a geofencing zone, ensuring ‘green miles’ driven could be safely stored and potentially shared among relevant parties such as city authorities and fleet owners. As long as the connected PHEVs of Ford entered these constantly fluctuating zones, they automatically switched to low-emission mode to maintain compliance with local restrictions and improve air quality. Almost half of the Cologne and Valencia tests' driven vehicles are purely electric-powered that cover 218,300km; however, the number rose to more than 70% for Cologne alone.
The research also explored low and zero-emission refrigeration in vehicles. Along with transport refrigeration providers Zanotti and Mebauto, Ford created an electric solution that cooled the load compartment in 18 minutes. In electric drive mode, the refrigerated van achieved 82% of its mileage in this test. As this publication reported in October 2019, this breakthrough returned a close research program in London in 2018. When the research extended to Cologne, Ford hoped its geofencing and blockchain technology would improve low-emission zones' function by discouraging polluting vehicles from driving through them.
The research-proven that hybrid vehicles and emerging connected technologies such as dynamic geofencing and blockchain could play a vital role in transforming cities. PHEV offers a practical, flexible alternative to diesel with zero-emission capability with no range anxiety, making them ideal for general-purpose vehicles for work in and around cities. Courtesy of its immense malleability, blockchain technology has found use-cases across various industries, and the automobile is no exception. Some other automotive manufacturers like Volvo and Mercedez Benz are exploring the environmental impact of blockchain technologies that dominating in tracing and subsequently reducing cobalt in the supply chain; Both manufacturers have invested in this area.
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