A Blockchain based Distributed Vehicular
Network Architecture for Smart Cities
Mubariz Rehman, Zahoor Ali Khan, Muhammad Umar Javed, Muhammad Zohaib
Iftikhar, Usman Majeed, Imam Bux, and Nadeem Javaid
Abstract In this paper, we propose a blockchain-based data sharing mechanism for
Vehicular Network. We introduce edge service providers placed near to ordinary ve-
hicle nodes to fulﬁll their requests. Smart vehicles generate a huge amount of data
which is stored in the Interplanetary File System (IPFS). IPFS is a distributed ﬁle
storage system that overcomes the limitations of centralized architecture. Monetary
incentive is given to edge vehicle nodes for providing services to ordinary nodes.
Ordinary nodes give reviews against services provided by the edge nodes that are
stored in a blockchain. A smart contract is used to automate system processes with-
out third party involvement and checking reviews of the edge node. To optimize
gas consumption, we used Proof of Authority (PoA) as a consensus mechanism for
transaction validation. PoA enhances overall system performance and optimized gas
consumption. The caching server is introduced to store frequently used services in
memory and provided to ordinary vehicles upon request. Moreover, we have used
symmetric key cryptographic mechanism which ensures data security and privacy.
A trust management system is proposed, which ensures the reputation of nodes. The
trust value is stored in a blockchain, which determines the authenticity of nodes in-
volved in a network. From simulation results, it is shown that our proposed system
is efﬁcient for the vehicular network.
Mubariz Rehman, Muhammad Umar Javed, Muhammad Zohaib Iftikhar, Usman Majeed, Imam
Bux, and Nadeem Javaid (Corresponding Author)
COMSATS University Islamabad, Pakistan; email: email@example.com
Zahoor Ali Khan
Faculty of Computer Information Science, Higher Colleges of Technology, Fujairah 4114, United
Arab Emirate, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Mubariz et al.
With the advancement in vehicular technologies, a large number of smart vehicles
are part of the Internet of Vehicle (IoV) network. The vehicular network is used for
various purposes such as trafﬁc control, prevention of accidents and critical message
sharing between vehicles . Nowadays, electric car manufacturers are developing
driverless vehicles. In recent years, smart vehicles are growing rapidly and some
studies predict that market size will be increased more than tenfolds from 2019 to
2020 . The market value of autonomous vehicles will grow from $54.23 billion
to $556.67 billion. Smart vehicles are equipped with different sensors and wireless
communication module that allows a vehicle to sense information such as road con-
dition, trafﬁc rate, and accident report, etc. This sensory information is shared with
other smart vehicles and Road Side Units (RSUs). This type of communication is
called a vehicle to vehicle communication and vehicle to roadside communication.
With respect to time, smart vehicles are increasing rapidly due to their excellent fea-
ture and capabilities. However, many issues arise due to open environment in wire-
less network. Smart vehicles generate a large amount of data in real time scenario.
To handle huge data and provide secure communication channel is a huge callenge
in vehicular network. In vehicular network data generation is continuous, to handle
large amount of data and provide real time response is not possible for centralized
system. To overcome these limitation, there is need of decentralized architecture
which fulﬁlls vehicular network requirement. From literature, we conclude there is
need of mechanism which ensures security in vehicular network.
In this paper, we proposed a secure data sharing architecture for a vehicular net-
work using blockchain. Each ordinary vehicle communicates with edge node ve-
hicle for the required service. There are predeﬁned service charges against service
requests. Whenever ordinary node request a service a predeﬁned amount is deducted
from ordinary node accounts. For the storage of data generated by vehicles, we used
a distributed data storage mechanism. For each vehicle, the trust value is calculated
to determine the reputation of each vehicle. Crypto Id is assigned to each vehicle,
this reduces the risk of malicious activities in a network. A smart contract enhances
system performance as well as the throughput of the system. The reputation value of
vehicles is stored in blockchain against the id of the vehicle. These features enhance
the performance of the proposed system.
With the invention of blockchain technologies, a secure service provisioning
mechanism for Internet of Thing (IoT) became possible. Authors in  proposed a
blockchain-based secure service provisioning mechanism for IoTs using blockchain.
Due to blockchain, service codes are protected from untrustworthy edge servers in-
volved in edge transparent computing network. The effectiveness of a system is
evaluated for resource constraint devices through simulation results. However, no
service charging mechanism and cryptographic mechanism for secure communica-
tion are considered. In , authors also proposed an edge transparent computing net-
work for smart transportation in which both centralized and distributed architecture
are used for efﬁcient and cost-effective communication. Edge servers are placed in a
distributed manner to provide essential services and achieve localization. However,
A Blockchain based Distributed Vehicular Network Architecture for Smart Cities 3
efﬁcient deployment of edge servers, enabling caching techniques and data moneti-
zation among IoT are not considered. With the increase in population, smart vehicles
are increasing day to day. In , the authors proposed a blockchain-based vehicu-
lar network, which allows the development of the distributed network of large scale
vehicles more efﬁciently and effectively. However, reliable communication among
vehicles and for efﬁcient data storage, there is a need for a trust management sys-
tem and distributed ﬁle system. In vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication, mostly
vehicle identiﬁcation number is used for communication. However, the privacy leak-
age problem arises while using an identiﬁcation number used for communication.
To prevent issues of biasness and for encouragement purpose, incentive mechanism
is used. However, no incentive mechanism for vehicles is introduced in .
2 Literature Review
In this section, we present a literature review of blockchain existing work. Pardip in
 presents a blockchain-based hybrid architecture for smart cities. By beneﬁcial
from both centralized and distributed architecture, the author proposed hybrid net-
work architecture. Software-Deﬁned Networking (SDN) and blockchain are used
together. The author divides the network into two main parts: the core network and
edge network. Argon2 based PoW consensus mechanism is used to ensure security
and privacy. However, efﬁcient deployment of edge node and caching techniques ar
edge node is still not considered. In , the author proposed a blockchain-based ad
hoc vehicular network which allows the scalable vehicular network for large scale
vehicles. With the blockchain, a secure environment is proposed for both end-users
and the machine side. In this model, vehicles are also able to share their resources for
revenue generation. In the future, the author wants to extend the system for wearable
In , the author proposed a blockchain-based secure service provisioning mech-
anism for IoT. Edge servers are placed in a network to provide efﬁcient services for
resource constraint devices. To minimize the computation cost, PoA is used as a
consensus mechanism. From the simulation results, the effectiveness of the pro-
posed system is evaluated. However, service charing is not considered. With the
advancement in IoT technologies, security, privacy and credibility issues are need
to be handled. In , the author proposed a blockchain-based credibility veriﬁca-
tion method for IoT. The authors proposed a self-organization blockchain structure
(BCS) in which blockchain is used for organization. The effectiveness of a system
is evaluated using response time and storage efﬁciency. However, complete decen-
tralization is not achieved by Manage Server (MS). In , the author proposed a
framework for data sharing in a distributed system with a ﬁne-grained access control
mechanism. To overcome the limitations of centralized architecture, the author pro-
posed a distributed system with Ethereum blockchain and Attribute-based Encryp-
tion (ABE). The feasibility of a system is analyzed through experimental analysis.
However, access policy updates and user attribute revocation are not considered.
4 Mubariz et al.
In , the author proposed a novel attribute-based access control mechanism for
IoT. The authors proposed a decentralized access control mechanism that ensures
the scalability and robustness of a system. IoT devices are not used for the consen-
sus mechanism due to which communication overhead is signiﬁcantly decreased.
However, the real-time scenario is not considered. In , the author proposed a
blockchain-based data sharing mechanism while using ﬁne-grained access control
and artiﬁcial intelligence. Two blockchains are proposed for the data-sharing mech-
anism named as Data chain and Behaviour chain. The proposed system is based on
hyper ledger Fabric. However, the scope of the proposed system is limited. The eco-
nomic impact is also not considered. In , author proposed an E-business model
for IoT using blockchain. The author discussed four stages of traditional E-business
according to the transactions. The author proposed a peer to peer (P2P) model for
blockchain. Distributed Autonomous Corporation (DAC) is used for P2P trading.
DAC is based on Machine Learning Algorithms which make it intelligent. DAC can
perform trade through Person-to-Machine (P2M). However, the system is designed
for only two commodities. The scope of work is limited.
In , the author proposed a framework for Intelligent Vehicle (IV) using
blockchain. The author solved the problems of authentication and trust using block-
chain technologies. The dynamic trafﬁc rate is considered for simulation. A concept
of IVTP is introduced for accessing the trustworthiness of other vehicles. With the
help of blockchain, a large number of the vehicle is handled in a real-time sce-
nario. The performance of the proposed system is well when there is a heavy trafﬁc
scenario. In , the author proposed a blockchain-based crowdsensing network in
which privacy preservation is achieved through an incentive mechanism. Blockchain
ensures the integrity of the data. With the incentive mechanism, issues of low user
participants can be tackled. However, the scope of proposed work is limited due to
which results obtained may be one-sided.
In , the author proposed a blockchain-based distributed network architecture
for the Internet of Vehicles (IoV). To overcome challenges of real-time response in a
vehicular network, a distributed architecture is proposed for the vehicular network.
The secure storage of big data is the main concern of blockchain-based vehicular
network system. However, the real-time trafﬁc rate is not considered by IoV. Oscar
in  presents a scalable access management system for IoT using blockchain.
Proof of Concept architecture is followed for the proposed system. The system per-
formance is evaluated by comparing it with other state-of-the-art systems. When
a single management system is used, the performance of the proposed system is
less efﬁcient than the existing system. However, a proposed system model is sig-
niﬁcantly scalable when the load is distributed. From the experimental results, we
conclude the system is designed for multiple management hubs. Similar works are
also presented in -.
A Blockchain based Distributed Vehicular Network Architecture for Smart Cities 5
3 Proposed System Model
In this section, we propose a blockchain-based vehicular network in which trusted
service sharing between machine to machine is enabled. The proposed system en-
ables a vehicle to vehicle communication in a secure environment. In this section,
we present a system model in which various challenges of the vehicular network is
3.1 Architecture Overview
By getting motivation from a system model in , a vehicular network model is pro-
posed. Our proposed system model allows the development of the distributed vehic-
ular network in an efﬁcient manner. Fig. 1 illustrates the blockchain-based vehicular
network architecture to meet requirements and challenges. RSU are placed in a dis-
tributed manner for efﬁciently providing services. In Fig. 1, there are three types of
nodes: Ordinary nodes which act as smart vehicles, edge nodes having more compu-
tational power than ordinary nodes shown in a green circle. Ordinary nodes are re-
source constraint nodes having low storage, computation and low battery life. RSUs
act as static nodes in a network. Edge nodes handle service requests/responses. An
ordinary node requests a service to edge nodes in a distributed way. Due to the place-
ment of the edge node and RSU in a distributed way, scalability and availability of
the system are achieved. For reliable communication, the cryptographic mechanism
Whenever a new vehicle joins the network, a unique crypto ID is issued to the
vehicle by an intelligent vehicle trust point organization. Each vehicle in a vehicu-
lar network has its unique crypto ID. During communication, the vehicle provides
crypto ID to build trust in a communication network. IVTP consider as a trust value
which ensures reputation of a vehicle. Greater the IVTP value, higher will be its
request and honor. All the RSU primarily contain neccessary information which are
required by ordinary nodes. All RSU have a peer to peer (P2P) relation among them.
The proposed system model is shown in Fig. 1.
3.2 Edge Node Model Overview
Each edge node has three types of computation assets: computing, sensors, and data
storage. Depending on these resources, edge nodes are distinguished from controller
nodes. These edge servers get the vehicle information and transfer to controller
nodes. Controller nodes use the IPFS to store the vehicle data. Various types of
services are provided by the edge nodes such as road accidents, trafﬁc blockage,
sensor data of smart vehicles and service sharing, etc. Depending on the service
given by edge nodes, ordinary nodes give a rating. Depending on the rating value,
6 Mubariz et al.
RSU 3 RSU N
Blockchain Interplanetary File
Vehicular Network Vehicular Network
Vehicular Networ Vehicular Network N
Intelligent Vehicle Trust
Vehicle ID Transaction ID
Unique Crypto ID
Unique Crypto ID
Road Side Unit
2Request / Response
Unique Crypto ID
ache Serv ache Server
Fig. 1: Proposed System Model.
the behavior of edge nodes is determined. The proposed system work as if smart
vehicles want the data about road trafﬁc, edge node check cache storage. If the re-
quired service is available then service is transfer to ordinary nodes. Otherwise, the
edge node communicates with RSU to give responses against service requests. Edge
nodes stores frequent used services in cache memory.
3.3 Incentive Mechanism In Vehicular Network
In a vehicular network, smart vehicles are part of the whole network through which
information is collected and stored in IPFS for further usage. Whenever a smart
vehicle requests a service, edge nodes communicate with the RSU for responding
to the service requested. RSU checks the blockchain and gives a response against
a service request. Some smart vehicles are not involved in service sharing process
due to selﬁshness or some other reason. Due to this, system performance is compro-
mised. To overcome this limitation, the incentive mechanism is proposed. Whenever
sensory information is given by smart vehicle, after validation of sensory informa-
tion incentive is given to the ordinary node. This incentive amount is given in the
form of cryptocurrency. The incentive amount is also converted to local currency for
getting beneﬁt from it. In our proposed system, the incentive is given as a reward
after valid service sharing. By the involvement of incentive mechanism, a problem
of selﬁshness and low user participation is also tackled.
A Blockchain based Distributed Vehicular Network Architecture for Smart Cities 7
3.4 Road Side Unit Overview
All RSU are connected to edge nodes in a distributed manner and placement is in
a static manner to provide services like road information, trafﬁc rate, road accident
details and near located charging stations. All the RSU are connected in P2P manner.
To overcome the limitations of a centralized storage system, IPFS is used for data
storage in a distributed manner. With the use of IPFS, a problem like high latency,
excess bandwidth usage and a single point of failure is resolved. As in real-time
vehicular environments, data generated by smart vehicles are large in quantity. To
handle a huge volume of data, a decentralized system is required. PoA consensus
mechanism is used for validation of the transactions. PoA is used as a consensus
mechanism instead of PoW because of there less resource consuming abilities.
3.5 Autentication of Vehicular Network
For authentication of vehicles involved in a network and preventing malicious activ-
ities, IVTP organization is used. In IVTP a unique crypto-ID is assigned to each ve-
hicle in a network. IVTP-ID is used as an identiﬁcation of the vehicle. The record of
assigning crypto-ID is stored in the IVTP organization. Whenever malicious nodes
want to participate in a network. Their identity is detected due to the lack of crypto-
ID. For, each vehicle, trust value is calculated by the IVTP organization. More the
trust value more will be honor and respect. Based on service sharing, trust value is
3.6 Caching and IPFS
Whenever a vehicular network is built, smart vehicles communicate with edge nodes
for the service request. Edge node communicates with RSU for the fulﬁllment of
user requests. This whole process requires a large execution time. However, the real-
time vehicular network is time-sensitive systems. To optimize the gas consumption
we introduce a cache memory at the edge node. Frequent used sensory information
is stored in cache memory. This process optimized the execution time and enhance
overall system performance. IPFS is used for distributed data storage while consid-
ering the issues of centralized systems. In IPFS data integrity is also achieved while
considering hashes of the data. If the data tamper, a complete hash will be changed.
IPFS also provides security to the data stored in a blockchain.
8 Mubariz et al.
3.7 WorkFlow of Proposed Sytem
In the proposed blockchain-based vehicular network, smart vehicles are registered
in a network via blockchain. IVTP provides a unique crypto id to each vehicle.
This unique crypto id used as an identity of a vehicle. A list of all register vehi-
cles is stored in a blockchain. Blockchain is secure, tamper-proof, and immutable
technology used for vehicle to vehicle communication. Among ordinary vehicles,
edge node vehicle is also placed. The edge node vehicle communicates with RSU to
entertain the request of ordinary vehicles. In the proposed system, the vehicle gen-
erates a large amount of data so, it is impossible to handle a huge amount of data.
To overcome this issue, we proposed IPFS fo data storage. IPFS generates a hash
of the data, which is stored. These hashes are stored in blockchain which ensures
security and data integrity. For making a system efﬁcient in terms of resource uti-
lization, we use PoA as a consensus mechanism. We introduced the cache server at
the edge node vehicle. Frequently used services are stored in a cache server. With
the use of a cache server, communication time is optimized. If the service given by
the edge server node is valid, then an incentive is given by ordinary vehicles. The
incentive is considered as a reward given to the edge server node by ordinary ve-
hicles. However, there are pre-deﬁned service charges against each service. All the
ﬁnancial transactions are stored in blockchain.
In the proposed system, ordinary vehicles send a request to edge node vehicles
for the required service. Edge node communicates with RSUs. RSUs are static nodes
and have sufﬁcient computation resources. Blockchain is implemented between the
RSUs. RSUs respond against service requested and request for service charges
against the service requested. After the successful payment of service charges, ser-
vice is delivered to an ordinary node. For each valid service, an incentive is given
to edge node vehicles. All communication in a network is in encrypted form which
ensures the privacy of data. RSUs stores all the transaction history in IPFS. Hashes
of the data stored in a blockchain. With IVTP, trust value is calculated. Based on the
trust value, the behavior of smart vehicles is determined. Frequently used services
are stored in a cache server of the edge server node. Whenever ordinary vehicle
requests for service. Edge node vehicle checks their cache server. If the required
service is present at the cache server, then the required service transferred by edge
node vehicle itself. With the use of the cache server, the overall communication time
of a system is optimized.
4 Simulations and Results
In this section, we discuss the tools used for simulation and results of proposed
Simulation Environment: For proposed work, Ethereum is used for conducting
simulations. Ethereum provides user friendly environment as compared to bitcoin
platform. Ethereum supports Decentralized Applications (DApps) with in term of
A Blockchain based Distributed Vehicular Network Architecture for Smart Cities 9
transaction validation process. Ethereum is efﬁcient than bitcoin network in terms
of transactions validated in one second. In Ethereum, we used PoA as a consen-
sus mechanism. Turing complete scripting language called as solidity is used for
implementing smart contract.
Remix Integrated Development Environment (IDE): Remix IDE is used for
simulation of smart contracts based on solidity language. Remix IDE is web browser
based development environment through which deployement and execution of smart
contracts is possible.
Ganache: is blockchain based software which provides virtual accounts for exe-
cuting smart contracts. For each account there is unique address stored in ganache.
Ganache also perform mining process through which transaction is validated and
added to blockchain. In each account, predeﬁned amount of virtual ethers are stored.
These ethers are used as a cryptocurrency in blockchain environment.
MetaMask: Metamask is the browser extension used for ganache and remix con-
nectivity. Metamask also provide facility of connectivity with local host and other
blockchain network such as rinkeby and ropsten network.
System Speciﬁcation:The speciﬁcation of system used are: Intel(R) Core(TM)
i5-4300U, CPU @ 1.90GHz, 8GB RAM, 500GB hard disk, 64-bit Operating System
with x64 based processor.
4.1 Results and Discussions
In this subsection, we evaluate performance of our proposed system. Gas is consid-
ered as a unit to calculate the cost of transaction executed and validated. Any action
performed in a ethereum environment is considered as a transaction. For each trans-
action, there is pre deﬁned as consumption amount. The predeﬁned gas consumption
amount is mentioned in ethereum yellow paper .
1 gas unit = 4 gwei (1 Ether = 1000000000 gwei)
In Fig. 2 we calculate the total gas consumption based on two different consensus
mechanism. Two smart contracts are designed for a proposed system. One contract
is of IPFS, a distributed storage system and the other is a smart contract based on
the vehicular network. From the experimental analysis, we conclude PoA consensus
mechanism is more efﬁcient than PoW in terms of gas consumption. PoW is more
resource consuming consensus mechanism in which all the miners are participating
in the complex mathematical puzzle-solving process. This process requires a large
execution time as well as excess resource consumption. From the simulation results,
it is shown that PoA is efﬁcient for resource constraint devices.
In Fig. 3, gas consumption of main functions of IPFS is presented. Add Data(),
consumed more gas than other functions. This function depends on the size of ﬁle
which is to be uploaded and network conditions. Once the data is uploaded, the
gas consumption is not too much high which shows the effectiveness of system.
IPFS is used for secure data storing and sharing mechanism which supports the data
10 Mubariz et al.
Fig. 2: Comparision of Smart Contract Deployement Cost.
integrity mechanism. We proposed modular contract based system in which impact
of attacks is minimum.
Fig. 3: Gas Consumption for IPFS Functions.
In Fig 4, gas consumption of function used in IPFS such as Return Hash,Set Ac-
cess Rights,Set Recipient and Set Blacklist is pesented. From the simulation results,
we conclude gas consumption of these functions are not very high. Our proposed
system is efﬁcient and ﬂexible for resource limited devices.
A Blockchain based Distributed Vehicular Network Architecture for Smart Cities 11
Fig. 4: Gas Consumption for IPFS Smart Contract.
IIn Fig. 5 we evaluate the gas consumption analysis of vehicular network smart
contract.There are ﬁve functions which vehicular network performs, i.e., registerVe-
hicle(), requestService(), response(), and SC deployement(). Transaction and execu-
tion cost of each functions are presented. Transaction cost is always high because
it stores different operational data to execute and sends the data to the blockchain.
While execution cost is the cost of operational function.
Fig. 5: Gas Consumption for Vehicular Network Smart Contract.
12 Mubariz et al.
5 Conclusion and Future Work
In this research work, we propose a blockchain based resource efﬁcient and secure
data sharing mechanism for Vehicular Network. In proposed system, we consider
distributed ﬁle storage system known as IPFS for data storage. By the use of IPFS,
issues of centralized storage system are eliminated. Smart contract is introduced to
maintain trust value of vehicles and to ensure fair payment against given service.
For each service, there is pre-deﬁned amount of charges. We introduce blockchain
to optimize the resource utilization and to ensure secure data sharing environment.
Incentive mechanism and review system are introduced for edge vehicle node. De-
pending on reviews, the reputation of each edge vehicle node is determined. Review
given by ordinary node is considered as a feedback against service delivered by edge
vehicle node. From the simulation results, it is analyzed that our proposed system
is efﬁcient for data sharing mechanism. However, cost of proposed system depends
on size of data.
In future, fake review detection system is considered for ordinary vehicle. This
will verify the reputation of ordinary vehicles.
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