A young woman was murdered last month while using Hitch, a popular carpooling service offered by Didi ChuXing, a Chinese ride-sharing giant. This came just four months after another woman was murdered by a driver using the same service. The attack has done serious damage to the Chinese public’s trust in Didi, and sparked a heated debate throughout China and other parts of the world. Sadly, more carpool incidents occurred before sufficient information was disclosed to the public.
Due to the severity of these crimes, Chinese Government officials and regulators expressed their concern, and made it clear that they were paying close attention to the issue. Under the extreme pressure from the government and general public, Didi ChuXing released an official statement on August 26th, that the carpool service would be terminated on the following day, August 27th. Didi ChuXing also fired two top executives, Operations Manager, Huang Jieli, and Vice President, Huang Jinhong.
These tragic carpool murders did not just bring an end to Didi’s carpool service, it also impacted other companies with similar services. GaoDe Map and Dida Carpool, two famous transportation network companies suspended their carpool services as well.
Do we need to get rid of carpool services?
In comparison to other transportation network services, carpool services are shared transportation networks. Carpool means the driver shares spare car space with others, which optimizes transportation allocation, alleviates traffic congestion, and reduces exhaust emissions. Of course, the driver is receiving pay for helping provide the service as well. In theory, carpool services are beneficial to society and the environment.
One of the main reasons for carpool accidents such as this is society’s trust crisis. Important data from the platform is not transparent, so users are not able to access relevant information and take proper precautions before using the service. Another reason is the platform’s inability to properly respond to an emergency situation in a timely manner.
Carpool Safety Issues
Society’s trust issue:
- Newly registered drivers have little to no history of transactions, ratings, or comments from the public, making it difficult to assess a driver and his/her vehicle.
- Many registered cars are driven by more than more driver, which are working for carpool services on a full-time basis. This makes it hard to link a driver to a specific car.
Application information is not transparent:
- Driver complaints are not disclosed to the public.
- Carpool matching systems do not include any smart filter design
Lack of efficient support and response time when problems arise:
- Customer service departments have been outsourced, with little training provided by the service. This leads to a lack of any sense of responsibility and an inability to deal with emergencies properly.
In regards to the most recent carpool murder, Didi made a statement that a passenger had previously filed a complaint against the driver responsible for the murder for inappropriate harassment. However, the complaint hadn’t been addressed by Didi, or been disclosed to the public. Additionally, Didi’s platform matching system does not include any smart filtering function that could exclude or suspend potentially dangerous drivers.
In an attempt to reduce costs, Didi outsourced their customer service. The training they provided to the customer service employees was insufficient. The customer service employees were considered to be lacking any basic sense of responsibility and ability to properly respond to an emergency situation.
As a relatively new service, it is nearly impossible to achieve a zero-accident rate. Operating a carpool service has plenty of challenges, but it is a service that many people depend on for transportation on a daily basis. The problem isn’t with carpooling as a service, but the way in which these companies are currently operating their services.
CPChain: Let’s work on a solution!
The question becomes, what can we do to reduce accidents while still protecting privacy?
CPChain is a new distributed infrastructure for the next generation Internet of Things. CPChain intends to build a fundamental data platform for IoT systems in combination with distributed storage, encryption computation, and blockchain technologies, providing the whole process solution from data acquisition, storage, and sharing to application. CPChain is a promising solution to a series of challenges of the current “chimney architecture” of IoT systems, reducing connectivity cost of devices, protecting data privacy, and maximizing the value of IoT data.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is an open and decentralized database maintained by all nodes that participate in the network. This distributed ledger technology consists of a peer-to-peer network, consensus algorithm, and cryptography.
How can CPChain help?
Three of the main issues we are facing in the field of shared transportation are a reliable way to trace the identities of the drivers and passengers on a trip by trip basis, maintaining a network of regulated vehicles, and a trustworthy method of supervision. Using CPChain’s technology, steps can be made towards solving these issues and dramatically increasing the safety of different shared transportation methods, like carpooling.
All the key information can be uploaded to the main chain, such as a drivers’ ID, vehicle specs, transaction history, driver ratings, and passenger complaints. This will allow for every driver to have a transparent profile, and risk to participants to be minimized. This will allow societal trust in the safety of shared transportation to be rebuilt.
With the use of CPChain’s distributed encrypted storage, isolated data islands will no longer exist. Necessary information can be accessed through a public platform, creating a safe and intelligent transportation service without any risk to the users’ personal privacy.
CPChain integrates the decentralized blockchain network and distributed storage network to achieve secure data storage, validation, and sharing between networks. This technology eliminates a central point of failure and leads to a massive increase in security and stability over centralized databases.
Lets discuss some specific examples of how CPChain can be used to help increase safety and security for carpool services in the future.
ID Confirmation in advance
CPChain’s Transportation Real-Time Communication System will collect the identification of passengers and drivers before any transaction occurs. Using IoT devices, both parties’ biological features will be collected, encrypted, and uploaded to PDash (Parallel Distributed Architecture for Data Storage and Sharing), in order to confirm their identities. The shared transportation service will be integrated with the blockchain in the form of a smart contract. This smart contract will access the driver and passengers’ profiles, and the system will immediately notice any irregularities and report them to the company, or any other necessary party.
Real-time Data Collection
Any vehicle equip with the proper IoT devices can collect all relevant data from every trip, such as the route, video, audio, and more. Key data points from every transaction will be uploaded to PDash, this will allow for the data to be processed and analyzed by AI technology to determine if any accidents or inappropriate behavior occurred during the trip. In the event of danger, as per the system’s decision, emergency services would be contacted automatically. Since the platform is connected with regulators, the police can be notified in real-time, as well as any other appropriate parties.
Upload data to Main Chain and Saved Permanently
Vehicles with the proper IoT devices can save data locally. The data uploaded by the device can either be uploaded real-time, or saved in the local IoT device to be uploaded after each trip. The most important data can also be uploaded to the main chain. To avoid flooding the main blockchain with massive amounts of data, only the hash will be uploaded to the blockchain. The hash value of the data serves as the unique identifier for the verification of correctness and integrity of the data. This separate database from the blockchain will have two important benefits: increased system safety and security, while enhancing the scalability of the blockchain with decreased block size. When abnormalities or emergencies occur, timely uploading will be required.
Smart Analysis and Improved Regulation
With the side chain consensus agreement, uploaded data can be shared, sold, and purchased in real-time with security assurance. This IoT data holds tremendous value, with the assistance of AI technology, the platform can use this data to run more effectively and efficiently. This will also allow potential safety concerns to be flagged quickly and proper steps can be made to respond to the threat.
In conclusion, we believe CPChain can help reduce much of the risk identified in the Didi Chuxing’s carpool system. Of course, solutions like these will require time, effort, and cooperation from companies looking to improve the security and efficiency of their shared transportation networks. We strongly believe that the blockchain will be the technology that unlocks the potential of shared transportation. CPChain invites companies, organizations, and individuals that share our passion for improving the safety and efficiency of our world through technology to join us.