Transport is big business. Whether it’s automotive (94 million cars sold in 2017), aviation (a $38 billion industry) or ride-hailing (worth $285 billion worldwide by 2030), these industries are what help get people from A-to-B.

But the way those industries work, and how we access and use transport is about to change, thanks to blockchain.

These five companies are leading the charge.

Making car sharing easier with XAIN

Hiring or renting a car today relies on centralised control. That means the companies you negotiate and agree to rent a vehicle with (car rental companies, insurance, ride-sharing companies, individual car owners) are responsible for being trustworthy actors in the exchange. That also includes you, the potential renter.

It’s not a bad system, but companies like XAIN think they can do better.

XAIN wants to build a blockchain that turns cars into their own mini-data centres owners can control with private and public keys.

In a pilot study, the German company partnered with Porsche to connect a car to a specially built blockchain.

Being connected to XAIN’s blockchain allowed granular data on the car’s performance, location and driver behaviour to be sent in real time. It also give the ability for a car’s owner to issue digital keys to potential riders, or even a postman to access the boot and deliver a parcel.

Once the car is opened, the driver is notified via smartphone app, and can revoke the key anytime they wish.

Helping the used car industry become more transparent with carVertical

Buying a used car can be tricky. Owner history, service papers, mileage, accidents can be changed or forged, meaning the car you buy might not be what you think it is.

Forbes estimates that odometer fraud cheats U.S. consumers out of $1 billion annually by exaggerating the value of used cars.

carVertical is building the world’s first global vehicle history registry, on the blockchain.

By taking all the various bits of documentation a car generates over its lifetime and putting it on a public blockchain prevents information being changed, faked, rewritten or manipulated.

Once the registry is established, the company is aiming to build a car wallet on top of it. This wallet will allow owners and potential buyers to quickly manage a car's registration and maintenance records and perform insurance or technical inspection tasks, all at the push of a button.

Transforming the taxi industry with Arcade City

Companies like Uber and Lyft allowed anyone to become a taxi driver. But those companies' centralised control of the data, as well as control over rates and accessibility has left drivers feeling disenfranchised.

But in Austin, Texas, a new peer-to-peer ride-sharing service has appeared that puts drivers and riders in control.

Arcade City is building a global network of local driver cooperatives called guilds. Guild drivers work together to provide a reliable taxi service for their local area.

Instead of controlling driver networks from a central authority, Arcade City lets their drivers build their own transportation businesses and networks.

When it comes to payment, the transaction will be done between the driver and passenger without the company interfering - or taking a cut. In trials, drivers earned more than double what they did while using Uber and Lyft.

Making planes safer with Aeron

There are more than 100,000 flights worldwide every day, transporting some two million people in the process.

While aviation is considered one of the safest types of transportation, the number of accidents related to air transport averages to about 3,302 yearly. The main reason? Human error.

That’s where Aeron comes in.

It’s built an ecosystem on the blockchain that can do three very clever things:

  • 📚Help pilots verify their credentials and log records (to prove experience and ensure unlicensed pilots don’t fly)
  • 🛬 Let air traffic controllers track and monitor flights
  • 🛠️ Make a plane’s maintenance history more transparent to inspectors.

All of which helps keep planes and people, safe.

Creating a real-time registry of the world’s shipping containers with Blockshipping

There are 27 million shipping containers currently floating, waiting or traveling across the globe. However, one in five of those containers is unaccounted for.

What’s more, it’s quite difficult to know what’s in a container, even whether it’s full or not, meaning trains and trucks are wasting time and fuel transporting empty metal boxes.

Blockshipping wants to fix that.

Blockshipping has created the Global Shared Container Platform (GSCP), the first real-time registry of the approximately 27 million shipping containers, as well as a collaborative platform for all companies that handle container shipping.

The blockchain based solution will help improve efficiency, trackability, and save the industry $5.7 billion in logistics costs, as well as a significantly reduce global CO2 emissions.

All of which results in lower shipping costs, faster shipping times and a greener planet.

The Future

The movement of people, products and even planes is going to radically change thanks to blockchain.

While several of these projects are still in the early changes, what they do highlight is how blockchain - and its variations - are perfect for helping data move more quickly, keep track of complex systems, and help people understand how something is being used, in real time.

All aboard to the future.