This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Once again, the retail giant Wal-Mart is using blockchain in order to increase effectivity and security. After it was awarded patents for a crypto-powered electrical grid and a system for health records stored on the blockchain, the company aims at creating an army of autonomous robots that will be controlled by the technology.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology. Distributed ledgers use independent computers (nodes) to record, share and synchronize transactions, instead of keeping data centralized. The technology, which creates trust in digital data, has various applications, including in defense, e.g. in cybersecurity, military communication, etc.

Wal-Mart’s new patent application is for a system of in-field authentication electronic devices that will use blockchain keys for authentication. The patent explains that blockchain will likely play an important role in strengthening the system’s security. The proposal will create a system involving several robots that will handle package delivery throughout the supply chain. The robots will use wireless signals to communicate and authenticate identity, as reported by coingeek.com.

As autonomous technologies become “more affordable and available for use,” this could result in increased likelihood of security breaches, such as hacking. This is why Wal-Mart wants to use distributed ledger technology to develop “a medium for autonomous vehicles to authenticate each other, which allows for the security and authentication of the autonomous electronic devices.” The proposed system will also record the delivery information on the ledger making it possible for clients to access and track their products.

Walmart has applied for several blockchain-based patents for systems to help in the delivery process. Last year, the company applied to patent a system that would use distributed ledger technology to manage package delivery hubs like a locker. This system would automatically reserve a locker space for packages and make sure the good are only delivered to a locker with enough space. The company also applied for a patent for a system that uses blockchain technology to track delivery drones as they transmit packages from physical stores to customers.