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Porsche tests blockchain tech for data logging, vehicle access

The Bitcoin-derived protocol could help owners unlock their car much faster via a mobile app, eliminating the need for data routing through a centralized server.

Porsche claims to be the first automaker to begin testing blockchain technology directly in vehicles.

Better known as the backbone of Bitcoin, blockchain protocols enable cryptographically secure processing of transactions and other exchanges without relying on a centralized server.

The German automaker is exploring how blockchain could benefit in-car features such as locking and unlocking via mobile apps, temporary access authorizations and encrypted data logging for autonomous driving.

"We can use blockchain to transfer data more quickly and securely, giving our customers more peace of mind in the future, whether they are charging, parking or need to give a third party, such as a parcel delivery agent, temporary access to the vehicle," says Porsche financial strategist Oliver Döring.

Without the need for a server, the process of opening a car via an app is said to take just 1.6 seconds -- six times faster than before. The company is also exploring other potential business ideas including "swarm data."

A partnership with Xain led to the research project, introducing blockchain technology to the Panamera using the startup's "energy-efficient" mining process.

Porsche has not yet confirmed plans to bring any of the experimental blockchain technologies to production.