Infineon, Xain Partner to Develop Blockchain Applications for Cars

Munich-based Infineon partnered with blockchain firm XAIN to develop blockchain functionalities in its microcontrollers used in cars.

Infineon Technologies AG, a German manufacturer of semiconductors, partnered with XAIN to develop and implement blockchain applications into cars. XAIN, a Berlin-based blockchain startup, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Infineon at the latter’s first Automotive Cybersecurity Forum, held last week. During the event, the two entities presented the concept of a smartphone application that can give access rights in a decentralized manner. Such an app can be used for car sharing.

Along with this use case, blockchain can be brought to cars through applications related to automated payments, on-demand services, automated driving features, and tuning protection among others. At the core, it is about offering access rights, whether to the vehicle itself or specific data inside it. A relevant example involved the access rights to vehicle data is when insurance firms provide discounts for clients with good driving habits. Since everything is about data, security should be prioritized. 

Peter Schiefer, the head of Infineon’s Automotive Division, commented:

“Cybersecurity is crucial for the data-driven mobility of the future. Blockchain technology has enormous potential in this regard, but its use requires a high degree of coordination between the selected blockchain methodology and the security hardware installed in the car itself. We will be working together with XAIN to achieve this level of configuration.”

Today, all of Infineon’s second generation AURIX™ microcontrollers can host blockchain features. This can be achieved thanks to a built-in hardware security module (HSM) that considers the highest level of the EVITA, which is a security standard. The HSM incorporates computing and storage units inside the microcontroller, which allows cryptographic operations among others. Thanks to its secured memory, these microcontrollers can support blockchain-related operations like digital signing or hashing.

Source: Infineon

The only challenge at this point is that conventional microcontrollers cannot support a blockchain that relies on the proof of work algorithm due to limited memory space. However, XAIN is now developing another consensus mechanism.

XAIN founder and CEO Leif-Nissen Lundbæk stated:

“We aim to turn cars into fully-fledged network participants. As well as being important for offline and real-time capabilities, this also enables a particularly high level of privacy protection in connection with AI technologies. It ensures that private data for machine learning is kept exclusively in local storage. The goal of our collaboration with Infineon is to advance the use of XAIN’s AI technology in cars.”

Xain is part of Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, a consortium that also includes BMW, GM, Ford, and Renault among others. In February of this year, the company was collaborating with Porsche to explore blockchain for car features.