Tesloop Rethinks Shuttle Service, Goes For Carmiq And Blockchain Instead

Tesloop started about four years ago with an idea: why not use Tesla electric vehicles as passenger shuttles? The company first offered rides in 2015 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and then expanded to other California cities. This worked for about two and a half million passenger miles, but in October 2018, Tesloop shifted gears. Tesloop co-founder and CEO Rahul Sonnad told me that the change was due to issues with the California Public Utilities Commision’s regulations and “challenges with California state labor laws related to hiring drivers. We therefore now are only renting vehicles, and support other companies such as Bound, who are doing this in other states where the regulatory regime is much less onerous.”

That doesn’t mean that Tesloop has gone totally quiet. Instead of renting rides, the company has shifted gears to connected cars. With the change of focus comes a new name: Carmiq, which is an extension of the data collection that Tesloop did with its service vehicles. Carmiq is open up to any Tesla owner that wants to join the community and Carmiq says that 770 Teslas have so far been added to the network, which attempts to evaluate the value of cars in the network in real time. This can be a help to anyone who rents or shares a Tesla (for now, other connected cars could be added in the future), to correctly price the services the car provides. Carmiq’s opt-in service monitors the car’s battery health and data storage, providing its owner with what Carmiq calls “rational pricing” for that vehicle in a rental situation.

The details for how Carmiq collects its real-time valuation data can be found in a new patent application to the USPTO (number 16/124027, called “Vehicle Valuation Model Based On Vehicle Telemetry“). The short version is that Carmiq wants to use blockchain technology to provides “a means to ensure that vehicle data has not been altered,” Sonnad said. “By placing data, or hashes of data, on the blockchain, I can ensure that I didn’t after-the-fact change the data, but I can’t ensure the data was every real data to start [because the original data is not digitally signed from the vehicle]. This mitigates the value of the activity, but is relatively quick and easy, so still has some value.”

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