Working in a consortium Renault says it has developed a new blockchain solution for the European automotive industry to certify the compliance of vehicle’s components from design to production.

Developed by Groupe Renault, Faurecia, Knauf Industries, Simoldes, and Coskunöz, in association with IBM, the solution – called ‘XCEED’ – is now available to OEMs and automotive suppliers worldwide following a successful test at Renault’s Douai facility.

It will be first implemented at partner plants around Bursa in Turkey, Douai in France and Palencia in Spain.

Groupe Renault, Faurecia, Knauf Industries, Simoldes, and Coskunöz, in association with IBM, have signed a partnership contract for the deployment of XCEED (eXtended Compliance End-to-End Distributed), a blockchain based shared solution to trace the compliance of thousands of parts assembled in a vehicle in almost real time.

The announcement follows the successful testing of the XCEED solution at Renault’s Douai plant, and will be deployed to partner plants around Bursa in Turkey, Douai in France, and Palencia in Spain. XCEED is now open to global OEMs and suppliers, regardless of size, throughout the supply chain.

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Renault says XCEED improves responsiveness and efficiency during a time when regulations are becoming increasingly stringent. New market surveillance regulations came into force in September 2020, introducing enhanced regulatory controls for vehicles already on the market. Therefore, the entire production chain must adjust its structure to respond to the regulatory authorities within shorter timeframes, the company notes.

An inclusive platform for the benefit of the European automotive industry

The ambition with XCEED is to provide a compliance and conformity traceability platform for the entire ecosystem of the European automotive industry. The platform is able to answer regulation and customer demand whilst bolstering European industrial competitivity and technological sovereignty. XCEED is designed to be inclusive for all the automotive industry players worldwide, from multinational companies to SMEs, offering access to a powerful, shared digital tool.

XCEED uses the blockchain to create a trusted network for sharing compliance information between parts/systems manufacturers, throughout the supply chain to end vehicle manufacturers. The XCEED platform will help ensure better and more efficient compliance management, while respecting each company’s confidentiality, intellectual property, and data ownership. It offers a unique but distributed platform across the automotive ecosystem and is described as an effective way for the industry to answer the growing requirements of regulation without multiplying complex data reconciliations. It will thereby benefit the European automotive industry by improving information exchange and increasing trust within and outside the ecosystem through automatic sharing, checks and alerts of data in near real time. The solution is the result of the initial action led by its founding partners and based on an open governance approach that welcomes new participants. It was founded with the input from DG Connect in the European Commission.

Based on “Hyperledger Fabric”, an open source blockchain protocol, XCEED has been developed in partnership with IBM. It intends to be deployed in a Hybrid Cloud architecture with multiple Cloud providers, including IBM Cloud, to allow each member to run on the Cloud platform of their own choice.

Launched in 2019, XCEED is designed and implemented in collaboration with leading automotive industry players – Groupe Renault, Faurecia, Knauf Industries, Simoldes and Coskunöz – it is the fruit of collective intelligence and an adaptive agile methodology that marked an unprecedented multi-company approach to data-sharing and project management.

Dirk Wollschläger, Industry General Manager, IBM, said: “Blockchain proved its value in providing a new way to manage traceability and compliance in the food industry, in supply chain and others. XCEED is our first initiative in the automotive industry that is targeting to tackle component compliance traceability at scale, leveraging the value and benefits of blockchain. At IBM, our goal is to provide this industry with appropriate business solutions, through our experience in building blockchain networks on hybrid multi-cloud solutions, to accelerate this journey and build trust for a global Industry-wide platform.”

Eric Jacquot, Group End to End Quality Director, Faurecia, said: “From the very beginning, Faurecia has played a key role within this innovative ecosystem and we are very pleased joining this initiative, a new way of working with our customer Groupe Renault which puts transparency, conformity and traceability at the heart of the supply chain. With this secure, transparent, and automated data sharing system we can trace and resolve issues rapidly, reinforcing compliance, conformity, and competitiveness. We are convinced that this cutting-edge project will change practices in our industry in the years to come.”

Odile Panciatici, Coordinator of the XCEED Project, Groupe Renault, stressed the importance of the solution for the auto industry’s ecosystem: “XCEED is a powerful tool for transforming the automotive industry by enabling operational excellence for the whole ecosystem, including smaller players that would not have been able to invest in such technology otherwise.”

See also: Blockchain technology on the rise for supply chain transparency