Ford has been issued a patent for “Apparatus and methods […] for vehicle-to-vehicle cooperation to marshal traffic.” The patent indicates that Ford is seeking to use cryptocurrency technology as a means for cars to communicate with each other whilst on the road – with the patent describing a “Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass (CMMP) system” that uses “CMMP tokens” to facilitate inter-vehicle communications.
Ford Granted Patent for “Vehicle-to-Vehicle” Communication System
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has published a document granting Ford Global Technologies, LLC patent number 9,928,746 for “Apparatus and methods” designed to facilitate “vehicle-to-vehicle cooperation to marshal traffic.” The intended utility of the new technology is the alleviation of traffic congestion through using communication between vehicles to facilitate the cooperative coordination of “platoons” of vehicles.
The patent states that Ford disclosed an example of the technology in the form of a “vehicle-to-vehicle communication module and an example cooperative adaptive cruise control module.” The document notes that the “cooperative adaptive cruise control module determines a location of a traffic cataract,” and also “coordinates with other cooperative vehicles to form a platoon of standard vehicles,” with the cooperative module “coordinat[ing] with other cooperative vehicles to move the formed platoon through traffic cataract at a constant speed.”
Cryptocurrency Technology to Facilitate Inter-Vehicle Communications
The document describes a “Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass (CMMP) system,” which utilizes cryptocurrency technology in order to facilitate communications between vehicles.
The patent states that The CMMP system operates with individual token-based transactions, where the merchant vehicles and the consumers’ vehicles agree to trade units of cryptocurrency […] referred to as ‘CMMP tokens’ […] “The CMMP system facilitates particular drivers accessing less congested lanes. Drivers with cooperative vehicles may choose to participate in the system in which driving behavior is monitored, recorded, and evaluated in a collective manner by themselves and other participating vehicles.”
In practice, “This system would temporarily allow for particular cooperative vehicles (sometimes referred to as “consumer vehicles”) to drive at higher speeds in less-occupied lanes of traffic and also to merge and pass freely when needed. Other participating cooperative vehicles (sometimes referred to as “merchant vehicles”) voluntarily occupy slower lanes of traffic to facilitated the consumer vehicle to merge into their lanes and pass as needed […] The CMMP tokens are used to validate and authorize a transaction in which, at consumer vehicle request, the merchant vehicles either occupy slower lanes of traffic themselves, or allow the consumer vehicle to merge into their own lane and pass as necessary. The participating merchant vehicles gain CMMP tokens from the consumer vehicle.”
CMMP Tokens to Operate as Inter-Vehicle Credit System
In certain instances, Ford intends for the CMMP tokens to also function as a credit system with regards to the allocation of high-speed lanes.
The patent document states that “In some examples, the time allotted to the request of the consumer vehicle is based on the number of CMMP tokens chosen by the consumer vehicle to be spent at that particular time. For example, a driver of a consumer vehicle which is running late for an appointment may request to pass any participating merchant vehicles for a duration of 10 minutes on a particular road or highway for 60 CMMP tokens, at a rate of 10 seconds preferential access per token.”
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