What exactly is DAV?

DAV stands for Decentralized Autonomous Vehicles. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

DAV is the Internet of Transport.

The DAV Foundation is building toward a vision where decentralized and ultimately autonomous vehicles from drones to cars to boats and ships are interconnected by a common network and shared protocol where they can discover, communicate and transact with one another.

DAV is the result of the convergence of blockchain and autonomous vehicles.

Linking the potential of machine autonomy to the peer-to-peer power of blockchain technology creates a brand new space for transportation to evolve and grow. Decentralization is available now, and DAV will be usable by manned transport services on the blockchain, well before machine autonomy is widespread.

DAV is a transportation commons.

The DAV network is open to all, free to use, and is not controlled by anyone. No central body dominates the network, or establishes arbitrary rules. DAV is the underlying infrastructure for a wide-open transportation market for all to share, utilize and develop.

DAV uses blockchain technology to enforce transparency and disintermediation.

DAV is transparent. Reputations and transactions are recorded in perpetuity. Pedigree is verifiable without involving a third party. Everything is peer-to-peer, with no one gatekeeping services or captive markets.

DAV offers enormous opportunities in a brand new market.

DAV doesn’t just connect manned and autonomous transport assets. It’s an open network filled with limitless opportunities for market development and business growth. Arbitrators, insurers, search-and-recovery, charging services, urgent freight couriers, high-rise inspection services, and so much more are possible with DAV.

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There’s more to consider. First off, DAV is not just about autonomous vehicles. We recognized from the beginning that there are multiple steps to go from fully-manned vehicles to fully-autonomous ones. Also, even when we reach Level 5, there will always be a slice of the market that will insist on human intervention. DAV allows for all of this.

On to what we think is the really exciting part. Some of you will remember the early days of the Web. Just prior to the Web taking off, the only way for the mainstream consumer to access the Internet is via a centralized organization: CompuServe, Prodigy and AOL were the big ones in the U.S. You paid them a subscription fee, connected with your modem, and you experienced whatever CompuServe or its competitors considered to be “the Internet”. They did all the curating, some of the creating, and that was what was available to you.

When the Web was able to get traction, the CompuServes of the world were suddenly irrelevant. No longer was the average user at the mercy of one of the subscription services. The Web decentralized content and Internet experiences. Anyone could use it. You didn’t need Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s permission to access the Web or build something on it, and you didn’t pay him a fee either.

Now 20+ years later, there are billions of experiences on the Web and virtually endless content. CompuServe is no more.

What was also interesting was that no one could have predicted the kinds of businesses that would arise from the advent of the Web, at least not beyond the very obvious. An obvious business in the early days was selling content, a first-order business on the Web. Then an entrepreneur somewhere figured out that money was to be made selling advertising next to the content. A second-order Web business, which relied on the existence of a first-order Web business, was born. Later, someone saw the opportunity in selling access to banner ad servers, which makes for a third-order Web business, and so forth. The point being that obvious businesses in new technologies can trigger a cascade of opportunities, all of which build on each other.

Now to bring this full-circle. What the Web did for content, DAV is doing for transportation. Drone deliveries and decentralized ride-hailing are first-order businesses. A second-order one might be a drone search-and-recovery service for drones that fail, or an insurance provider that sells insurance to anyone who offers rides. What would a third-order business be on DAV?

Maybe you’ll be the one to come up with the very first example.