Peter Busch, Product Owner Distributed Ledger Technologies Mobility at Robert Bosch Group, is to deliver a presentation entitled Trust as the Key Concept in Future Mobility on Tuesday, September 14 starting at 3:30 pm. at EIC 2021.

To give you sneak preview of what to expect, we asked Peter some questions about his planned presentation.

What are the problems of the identity's status quo today?

Yeah, the identity status quo today. This is a tricky question because what we see these days is we get more and more in this area where we need identity, where you need to authenticate yourself in a more deeply- and highly-connected environment. And since one of our main [areas of] focus or visions for Bosch is the Internet of Things [IoT]. And we see a more and more connected car, connected to the infrastructure, connected to the smart city, [and connected] to anything else, even to the streets and the crossroads now. There you need to have a particular idea where you can say, okay, you need to upload or download data from the car, and then the infrastructure or the car needs exactly to know who does that. Where the car data comes from and who you are.

And so today the ID is getting more and more important because without an ID, you have not the chance to do anything when it comes to smart traffic, smart city or anything like that, or anything with dealing with the IoT. So therefore it's [important]. And the problem that I see personally as well is [that] really these days, you only have these federated systems of ID. You get your ID on the internet via Apple, Google, Amazon, or any other proprietary systems. And so, if you have really, really safety critical stuff, I do not really trust these other systems when it comes to highly critical data which needs to be transmitted. And if my ID is really stored somewhere [on someone] else's computer or server or any backend, this could be getting a bigger and bigger problem in the future.

How can decentralized identity solve pressing identity issues? Why is this particularly relevant to the mobility industry?

Yeah, exactly. I think we definitely can shoot at these problems - what I just said, because when we talk about decentralized identity, you do not have these intermediaries in the background again anymore. So, what we have here is decentralized. We have another system of governance. We have another system of control. So, for one particular technical system like self-sovereign identity, for example, you are really self-sovereign of your data. So, you [are] controlling your own ID, your own identity, and you control what kind of data you are giving to the other site when you talk to anyone in the internet or Internet of Things. And so, when you talk about mobility, and you go into your car, not only yourself need to digital identity, the car itself - as a device - needs identity as well.

And if in the future, if you think about [car] charging, for example, parking or zoning in a smart city, or anything like that, then you always – what I said before - you need to authenticate or authorize yourself to do anything and as well, maybe to buy things or to sell things, data in the car. And then absolutely it's so important that you can control what you are doing exactly with your data. Therefore, decentralized systems are quite important. And my hypothesis here, is it won't go without it in the future. Of course, Amazon, Google, or the likes can tell you, okay, trust us, the data is safe, and we can do it on premise and all that stuff, but on really the safety critical things, I do not trust anyone. I do only trust myself in these cases because when it goes about the life of the driver, for example, the safety of one, then we have to trust the person themselves, and that is possible really only with decentralized systems.

When will decentralized identity become a reality?

If you would have asked me like a year ago, I would have said maybe like five or 10 years. We are very far from it because automated driving, as well, needs a longer time. However, things have changed because we are going now in a phase where the governments are making a lot of pressure to really enforce the industry to use these digital identities. And especially there's one very interesting development at the moment that the German government, for example, they are pressing on using self-sovereign identity.

And so, with that, the time is getting faster and faster, or the development time is getting faster and faster. And I expect now to be able to use these systems, like in one, two years already. And together with this, we are in a huge collaboration mode with Gaia X in Europe at the moment. And so this helps again, because we have all the industry groups, a lot of startups, [and] a lot of universities coming together, working on these problems in a very fast mode. And so this helps us maybe in having [within] two or three years’ time, really scalable and usable systems out there.

Could you share some insights on your presentation at EIC 2021?

Right, I already started it, featured it a little bit. Trust is really the key concept because when you talk about, maybe, automated driving, then you need to trust the infrastructure. You need to trust the data which comes into the car because the car has to take some decisions. Where to drive, how to drive and as well, the driver gives some very trustworthy data to the car and to the infrastructure. And that is in a lot of different use cases. You need that trust relationship, and you need technical systems that help you with that. And so there are some use cases I would really talk about a little bit deeper and try to explain what is the situation today. How would we solve this today, and how would we solve that problem or challenge with these new technologies we are seeing upcoming.