EU Study: Blockchain a Solution to Prevent Odometer Tampering

The European Parliament has issued a report suggesting that the blockchain could be an effective solution to preventing odometer tampering.

In a report, Odometer tampering: measures to prevent it [PDF], issued by the Directorate General for Internal Policies, it reads that odometer tampering remains an issue in the European Union, affecting almost all second-hand car markets of its Member States. It adds that the study highlights the technological developments and IT solutions which could help combat the problem.

One solution is the use of the blockchain. The report states:

The blockchain technology currently proposed by the car engineering and electronics industry would allow downloading mileage and GPS data from vehicles, and securing it on a ‘digital logbook.’

It adds that the use of cryptography would provide users with a high level of protection, integrity, and control of data, adding.

Eventually, this technology would also ease data certification and could be supported by the development of connected cars concept where all relevant vehicle data could be accessed remotely.

The use of the distributed ledger is one of three measures that are being looked at to prevent odometer tampering. The second focuses on the possibility of identifying a standardised common framework of reference, based on international standards (ISO). Whereas, the third relates to equipping a vehicle’s electronic control units (ECUs) and components with specific technical solutions that are developed and implemented separately by individual car manufacturers.

According to the study, 10 to 50 percent of cars in different second-hand markets within the EU’s Member States have had their odometers tampered with. It claims that this is due to a lack of effective cooperation at supranational level and an insufficient exchange of information on mileage readings of odometers in vehicles traded between the Member States.

The report states:

Cars with rolled-back odometers are estimated to account for between 30% and 40% of total number of vehicles traded across borders. These numbers prove that odometer tampering is a serious concern and a widespread phenomenon across Europe, affecting almost all second-hand car markets in the European Union (EU).

Not only that, but consumers are affected as well. It’s estimated that in the EU losses from the rollback of vehicles’ mileage are estimated at several billion euros every year. As a result, surveys conducted by the European Commission show that the whole second-hand car market sector was ranked the lowest in terms of trust by European consumers.