Fraunhofer Blockchain Lab

Experience lab for technologies, their implementation and application

Smart Contracts for Vehicle Control and Replenishment of Delivery Boxes

Blockchain as enabler for process re-engineering and automation

Delivery box stuffed by two suppliers and accessed by multiple consumers.

Washing station with RFID reader and truck with RFID tag running on the road network.

Blockchain technology certainly comes with a promising re-engineering potential with regard to governance, business models and operating processes. However, applications seem to focus on crypto currencies, financial services, distributed ledgers and provenance tracking. Reports on prototypes for industrial applications have been sparse so far. Our prototypes illustrate the use of blockchain technology for industry-oriented applications with small-scale hardware for autonomous business transactions among technical agents. A particular focus is on deploying the concept of smart contracts for various process automations and exploring its re-engineering potential.

Just imagine two use case scenarios of machine economy with autonomous payment processes among technical agents at micro-scale:

  • Smart vehicle control – An autonomous vehicle is travelling on a network of roads with toll collect, parking zones as well as re-charging and washing stations plus spots for passenger pick-up and drop-off. Each component in this scenario is acting as a technical agent having individual wallets for maintaining its values. In principle, vehicles will be charged for using the road network as well as services consumed.  In contrast, revenues can be generated by passenger transports.
  • A delivery box with smart replenishment services at construction sites – Typically, craftsmen require various parts and products for their crafts at construction sites. Hence, delivery of parts required even from different suppliers to one delivery box at each construction site would ease supply processes for craftsmen. Even suppliers will benefit because delivery boxes can be used by several craftsmen. Hence, we can establish a many-to-many supply chain between producers and consumers. Processes for order, delivery and pick-up can be directly mapped to smart contracts again automating business transactions.

The demonstrators have been built upon different blockchain infrastructures: Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. Each vehicle, station or sensor is controlled by a small-scale device (Arduino Uno or Raspberry Pi) with a wallet on top. Vehicles are equipped with RFID tags while all stations use readers to identify vehicles consuming services. Road network and truck control are based on Faller Car System (www.faller.de).

Each scenario – i.e. parking, washing or ordering and invoicing – is implemented by smart contracts or chain code.