Increasingly connected cars are becoming a decentralized data platform. With greater autonomy, they have growing needs for computation and perceiving the world around them through sensors. While today’s generation of vehicle carries all the needed sensor data and computation on-board each vehicle, we envision a future where vehicles can cooperate to increase their perception of the world beyond their immediate view, resulting in greater safety, coordination and more comfortable experience for their human occupants.

What it does

For vehicles to obtain data, compute and other services from other vehicles or road-side infrastructure, it is important to be able to make payments for those services and for the services to run seamlessly despite the challenges posed by mobility and transient interactions with a dynamic set of neighboring devices. We present a trusted and decentralized framework that allows vehicles to make peer-to-peer micropayments for data, compute and other services obtained from other vehicles or road-side infrastructure within radio range. The framework utilizes distributed ledger technologies including smart contracts to enable autonomous operation and trusted interactions between vehicles and nearby entities.

How we built it

MOTIVE consists of the following key components:

  • Beaconing: For identifying other MOTIVE devices.
  • Link Prediction: To estimate how long the two MOTIVE devices (vehicles) will stay in contact with each other.
  • Scheduling: For allocating the resources needed to provide and consume the data and compute services.
  • Payment and Record: To pay for the services consumed and to record the transactions for verification purposes.
  • Rating: To rate other MOTIVE devices (vehicles).

We used the WiFi's AdHoc feature for beaconing and peer-to-peer networking. Whenever a MOTIVE device comes in contact with another MOTIVE device, the devices establish a link and exchange the provided and required services. The ratings smart contract in Ethereum, which consists of three functions to add a new user to the MOTIVE eco-system, get the rating of an existing user, and rate a user after a transaction. We implemented a client application for handling the payment and recording the transactions using Ethereum. Our proof-of-concept implementation and the demonstration videos are available at GitHub.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

MOTIVE is designed to be agnostic of and interoperable with any underlying distributed ledger or blockchain technology. It is general enough to be able to support a wide range of services - from data to compute to sensor tasking and others. To our knowledge, it is the first such framework explicitly designed for the vehicular domain.

What's next for MOTIVE: Micropayments fOr Trusted vehIcular serVicEs

During the design of MOTIVE, a number of research problems have been identified, which are listed here. We will continue to investigate and resolve the open problems, and, test MOTIVE in real-world application scenarios.

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