WalMart files patent for blockchain-enabled robot delivery system

September 03, 2018
Chris Wheal

WalMart is continuing its strategy of blockchain innovation, filing this weekend a new patent application for a robot delivery system that receives shipment advice via a blockchain-enabled platform.

WalMart files patent application for robot delivery using blockchain-enabled intercommunicating devices

US Patent application number 62463869 describes a system for “in-field authentication of autonomous electronic devices . . . configured to deliver an object to a specified location”.

Once the delivery address is reached, the delivery device receives a set of identification information from a second device.

Delegating to robots

“As autonomous technologies become more affordable and available for use, some individuals may wish to delegate certain tasks or activities to autonomous electronic devices,” WalMart says in the filing.

This can result in several issues, WalMart adds, including the increased likelihood of security breaches through interception or hacking of the devices and challenges related to security and authentication of both the autonomous device delivering the object and the autonomous device receiving the object when objects are being delivered.

“It is thus necessary to create a medium for autonomous vehicles to authenticate each other; which allows for the security and authentication of the autonomous electronic devices.”

Blockchain authentication

To this effect, WalMart says that updates to the blockchain comprise authentication signals and identification information.

“One or more nodes on the system may be configured to incorporate one or more updates into blocks to add to the distributed database.”

WalMart has been exceptionally busy in its development of blockchain use cases – filing a flurry of patents in recent months, including a system to build a network of energy-consuming devices using the ledger technology, and an alternative delivery and collection system that incorporates a network of blockchain-linked lockers.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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