One of the world’s biggest retailers, Walmart has applied for a patent that would see it create an army of autonomous robots that would be both controlled and authenticated via a blockchain network.
The patent application pertains to the “in-field authenticating of autonomous robots”.
The idea behind the patent is to use them to make deliveries in a bid to compete with competition such as Amazon. The documents describe a system where a number of robots are able to handle the delivery of a package across various stages of the supply chain by communicating via wireless signals to ensure correct authentication.
This type of system would be very attractive to hackers, something which Walmart is hoping to counteract by using DLT technology that could help to secure it against potential malfeasance.
The patent application goes on to say;
“In some embodiments of described above, blockchain technology may be utilized to record authentication signals and identification information to facilitate or resulting from in-field authentication between autonomous electronic devices. One or more of the autonomous electronic devices described herein may comprise a node in a distributed blockchain system storing a copy of the blockchain record. Updates to the blockchain may comprise authentication signals or identification information, and one or more nodes on the system may be configured to incorporate one or more updates into blocks to add to the distributed database.”
But this is not the first time that Walmart has applied for patents that use blockchain technology to streamline the delivery process.
Around one year ago, the company applied for a patent that would use DLT to manage delivery hubs. This software would automatically reserve locker spaces for parcels, ensuring that client orders are only delivered when that hub has the capacity to handle it. They also applied for another patent that uses blockchain technology to keep track of delivery drones as they move packages from physical stores to clients.