Ethereum smart contracts allow robots to organize themselves

Ethereum toolkit enables the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution associated with the mass cyber-physical systems’ integration into manufacturing and everyday life. As we speak, the first successful tests of software and autonomous machines that perform tasks without human intervention are taking place.

However, it’s still not the 4th revolution.

The robotization is now in full swing. While Dubai is experimenting with the self-flying taxi, Japan and the Netherlands are running so-called lights-out factories that are fully automated and therefore do not require lighting. For now, there are about 100 industrial robots per 10 thousand workers in Europe. However, all of the above is not enough to talk about the onset of the 4th revolution.

Supply chains are becoming more complex with rapidly changing trends and consumer patterns. In addition, while launching an autonomous drone for the pizza delivery, you still have to keep watching over it for security and maintenance reasons. The issue of centralization, which in practice means a security issue, also arouses criticism. Commands from person to machine pass through centralized IoT platforms. This is the system’s bottleneck where any failure (or intentional intervention) may lead to the entire system’s collapse.

Consequently, we come to the conclusion that we need to eliminate centralization and make the machines more independent so that they can support their sustainment and “negotiate” with each other in a peer-to-peer way.

p2p network for robots

Building such a network of distribution, control, and provision of services by cyber-physical systems (autonomous robots, in other words) adaptable to human needs can be carried out on the Ethereum infrastructure basis.

Robonomics Network, an Ethereum-based platform created by Russian engineers and scientists, allows designers of new cities and industrial zones to provide direct user access for ordering products from autonomous factories. The solution combines the economic and technical parts of communication between humans and machines into one transaction.

For instance: a smart refrigerator communicates with the milk warehouse/store and logistics selecting the most advantageous offer in terms of price and delivery speed. The store, in turn, does the same by choosing a supplier. As a result, you get your cappuccino at 7 o’clock every morning with no need for visiting a store.

How it works

The cyber-physical system (CPS) publishes its offers – you publish your demand – the system reconciles supply and demand – the smart contract is signed – the CPS sees payment made, fulfills the obligation and inform about this – observation network checks the fact of execution – the transaction is located to Ethereum Blockchain – the contract finalizes. The advantage of Ethereum contracts is the ability to add technical details to financial transactions, as well as the possibility to issue just one “consumer – robot” transaction instead of two: “consumer – operator – robot.”

Besides daily routine, such a platform solves global issues. On the Robonomics’ basis, with the technical participation of Microsoft, the world’s first international transaction for the transfer of carbon units (1 unit equals to 1 tonne of CO2 air emission) through the Blockchain was held.

As one can see, the potential of Ethereum smart contracts is multi-faceted and capable of numerous solutions our smart cities will likely to be built on.


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