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Future Focus with Walmart’s Latest Blockchain Patent

US retail giant Walmart has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to secure technology tools for receiving packages from autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs) in the future, reports a leading crypto news site.

According to the patent, automated vehicles could one day deliver packages for Walmart using blockchain technology. The patent is concerned primarily with receipt of goods at the point of delivery allowing automated vehicles to have safe access for the AVG’s on arrival.

Walmart (WMT) filed for two more blockchain technology patents in April, one for secure payments and another for digital shopping systems. In March, Walmart filed for a “Smart Package” blockchain patent allowing tracking of contents and environmental conditions from point of origin to delivery. That patent states that Walmart technology will record the “key addresses” along the chain and will be used with robotic delivery methods like autonomous vehicles and drones.

Blockchain promises a solution to address many of the complexities of the supply chain industry. Payment between suppliers, vendors, and customers often take days to get processed. Freight passes through multiple destinations before delivery and the traceability of the despatched goods during transport often lacks transparency.

Although much of the patent doesn’t refer specifically to the technology itself, WMT does refer to a blockchain solution enabling for “authentication-based access and encryption” allowing for delivery to restricted areas. The patent application states:

“When a customer interacts with a product, the customer is permitted to do so via a private or public authentication key. In response, new blocks may be added to subsequent root blocks, which will contain information relating to the date and time a product delivered by the AGV was accessed, as well as the authentication key that accessed the product.”

The futuristic patent sees a time when delivery systems are fully automated, cutting cost to customers and delivering a more accurate and efficient service using blockchain. Walmart envisages a significant reduction in running costs due to the vehicles not requiring a driver.

Walmart itself currently shares a blockchain platform with Nestle, Dole Food, Tyson Foods, Kroger and JD.com. This latest application sees the company looking into the distant future with blockchain supporting its innovations.

 

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