IBM asked to patent a system that uses blockchain technology to address privacy and security issues for drones, according to a deposit published by the USP Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on September 20.
The computer giant first presented the patent in March 2017, which describes how the blockchain could be used to safely store data associated with unmanned aircraft (UAV), more commonly known as drones. The patent notes that a blockchain system can provide "effective techniques for managing data relating to a UAV […] in particular when a level of security risk is considered relatively high."
According to the filing, such data could include the position drone, its constructor and / or model, its flight behavior ("eg erratic"), model capabilities such as camera resolution, contextual information such as weather conditions and the proximity of the vehicle to banned or forbidden flight areas
suggests that transaction data could be added "more frequently" as a block to the chain if and when a risk level is considered high. In terms of privacy management, if a drone is equipped with a high resolution sensor, for example, the repository proposes that this can be recorded on the blockchain, with additional data transactions added each time the sensor to be activated is detected.  As such, according to the filing, a shared and immutable ledger can allow multiple parties – which could include other drones, airspace controllers, regulatory bodies, and so on – to participate as peers in risk management. The validation nodes within the network could also grant special permissions, using the data stored transparently to verify that a drone has permission to fly in a particular area.
The patent also proposes that smart contracts can be used to interface the blockchain system with extra information generated by machine learning models or other algorithms that calculate historical data, both on-and off-chain. Such off-line data could include, for example, raw video streaming data that was captured during the drone flight.
IBM has consistently extended its involvement in blockchain in several fields, this summer signed a $ 740 million five-year seminar dealing with the Australian government to use the blockchain to improve security and data automation in all federal departments.
The new data published at the end of August revealed that IBM is competing with the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for the first place in a new ranking number of patents related to the blockchain they have deposited to date. After filing 89 blockchain patents, IBM has just been bypassed by its rival – which presented 90.