Overlapping Unmanned Systems and FinTech Industries Provide Glimpse into the Future

By: Ramsey A. Ammar

The unmanned aircraft system, autonomous vehicle, and financial technology (FinTech) industries are each in their fledgling stages, but forging ahead at a rapid pace. While the relative growths of these industries are on parallel paths, those paths are beginning to diverge as companies explore how developments in one industry can benefit the other.

For example, Wal-Mart recently applied for a patent application entitled “Unmanned aerial delivery to secure location” through which Wal-Mart could automate delivery drone logistics by using blockchain technology. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that enables the creation of an immutable record of transactions to share with multiple participants in a business network. Many consider blockchain to be a game-changing technology: it can be used across many different types of industry verticals due to the technology’s high level of security and no need for a central authority to approve transactions.

Wal-Mart’s patent application describes a system that would comprise a blockchain processing device that tracks, registers and authenticates items of the payload moving through a supply chain. The technology would improve upon last-mile shipping and could include elements such as location tracking, supply chain transition, authentication of the courier and customer, product and container temperature control, package contents placed in the container system, or a combination thereof. 

FinTech innovations, and specifically blockchain, are also being considered in the autonomous vehicles industry. Automotive manufacturers are beginning to study how blockchain can improve upon key functional areas in the automotive industry, including areas such as data collection, smart contracts, insurance solutions, smart manufacturing, supply chain logistics, retailing and leasing, and new mobility business models such as car-sharing and ride-sharing.

Click here to learn more about Polsinelli’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Advanced Robotics practice, or contact Tom Gemmell. For more on Polsinelli’s Financial Technology and Regulation practice, click here.