VIMANA is a company that is extending blockchain into the air. It builds blockchain based and regulated Airspace Ecosystems to provide air mobility programmes in countries such as the UAE, ensuring the safe and seamless operation of a multitude of aircraft.
Blockchain is more often than not associated with financial transactions but it has a surprising versatility that has yet to be fully exploited. Evgeni Borisov, CEO, VIMANA Global, tells us how it is being used in aviation with a strong emphasis on international safety and security standards.
What blockchain projects is the company involved in?
At VIMANA, we are building a novel blockchain-based and blockchain-regulated Airspace Ecosystem. The Ecosystem intends to provide Urban Air Mobility programmes in smart cities like Dubai, New York and Tokyo with daily network aerial commuting based on fly-by-wire operating Vertical Take-Off and Landing Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (VTOL AAVs).
How is VIMANA ‘extending blockchain into the air’?
The main challenge facing implementation of an AAV network is that existing air traffic control towers are unequipped to manage potentially thousands of AAV flights in a given city. VIMANA addresses this hurdle by incorporating AAV flight paths into Blockchain Airspace.
A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger that chronologically records every transaction that occurs and each transaction is validated by a majority of nodes (or participants) on the network. Blockchain technology also enables peer-to-peer exchanges of data to occur without verification from a centralised authority.
As such, Blockchain technology is uniquely suited to power VIMANA’s Blockchain Airspace Network because of its capacity to validate data using next generation blockchain infrastructure. Each VIMANA AAV VTOL carries a VIMANA Blockchain Airspace Node running Decentralised VTOL Traffic Management (DVTM) and Passenger DNA protocols that communicate with terrestrial Blockchain Airspace Nodes and thus ensure the safe and seamless operation of numerous aircraft.
This VIMANA Blockchain Airspace Network (VBAN) is in fact a facilities-based high performance network hosting specialised blockchain architecture that is constantly suspended in the air between 150 metres and the Karman line. By launching it VIMANA Global enables Earth’s first truly ubiquitous communications and transaction infrastructure.
Will blockchain technology enable unmanned flights to launch and fly safely in any international airspace?
I don’t see why not. At the moment VIMANA Global is focused on working with sovereign states to enable flights in national airspace. International will follow closely on the heels of these launches.
How secure is blockchain?
In terms of security, there are a myriad of challenges and furthermore, they differ depending on whether we are talking public or private blockchain and also the blockchain architecture that an organisation chooses to deploy. Some will look to integrate existing IT infrastructure and technology with blockchain while others might go for a 100% blockchain driven architecture. As blockchain matures, and we continue to learn the risks associated with it, organisations are going to have to consider the security implications that this will have on their business.
Two points I do want to make though. For one, in general, it’s impossible to release a new technology with no bugs or security holes. We don’t blame Apple for iPhone X bug fixes just a couple of days after official release on November 3, 2017, as this is part and parcel of the rollout of any new technology.
I was disappointed a little bit, because I was one of the first people who bought it in Dubai Mall, but if a brand such as Apple can’t give us releases without bug fixes a few days after release of a new product, what can we expect from ‘freelance’ blockchain developers? Essentially, I think we will have a similar learning curve with blockchain – the law of unintended consequences will rear its ugly head!
The other is human error – take a look at any technology and one of the weakest links is always the users. It will be interesting to see how blockchain developers address this challenge.
VIMANA’s blockchain technology is different – our engineers are hardening blockchain platforms to international aviation safety and security standards. Our blockchain has to pass the toughest safety and security tests in order for VIMANA aircrafts to be certified for passenger operations.
How can blockchain be used to eliminate human error?
Blockchain technology is used to run VBAN algorithms that enable air traffic control, collision avoidance and air corridors route map compliance functionality. As such human error is impossible as the AAV VTOL is flown without human intervention.