Great interview with Daniel Yim, Principal, Noblis, and Head of Asia, Regional Chapter Operations, and President, Reston VA Chapter, Government Blockchain Association (GBA)

What is your background briefly?

I know that it is rather an untraditional path, but I started my career in the automotive industry as a technician for Honda and Nissan, then transitioned to the U.S. Navy to work on F-14D Tomcat fighter jets. I later received a commission as a naval officer, then started a new career in Management Consulting with industry focus on public sector. While I was previously employed with IBM and Deloitte, I helped various client entities analyze big data and re-engineer their business processes.

Today, I serve as the Deputy Lead for the Economic Analytics for Decision Support (EADS) Center of Excellence (CoE) at Noblis, a Northern VA-based nonprofit technology and research firm. I am also the Head of Asia for regional chapter operations and president of a local chapter for the Government Blockchain Association, a nonprofit organization that embraces the mission of bringing together various industry stakeholders to create a collaborative environment to foster and promote the use of blockchain technology in the public sector.

Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?

Yes, I believe so. My previous experience as an automotive and aircraft technician allows me to view client projects from the perspective of various components and how each of them should work together to function as designed or as intended. And when it comes to problem solving, I put on my troubleshooting hat to systematically think through each issue areas as if I am breaking down mechanical components for repair.

Additionally, my background as a Business Process Re-engineer (BPR) and Data Analyst allows me to truly appreciate blockchain technology from the perspective of process management and data integrity. At the end of the day, blockchain is about data construct and how it is securely collected, managed, stored, and/or shared. And lastly, my experience as a naval officer taught me how to not only operate under high-stress environment, but also lead others in those situations.

1 min pitch for what you are doing now?

One of the coolest projects that I am currently working on at Noblis is called Pieces of Eight (Po8), which involves connected autonomous vehicles as known as Robot Derby. These robotic vehicles are programmed to navigate itself from point A to point B without colliding against objects of any kind. During the vehicles’ transit process, each vehicle collects information about where objects are located and shares that information with other vehicles so that they can also avoid colliding against those objects. In essence, they are teaching themselves and each other to increase operational safety and efficiency. The data collection is done using various types of sensors (i.e. lidar and proximity sensors) and ultimately ends up on the blockchain. Our team recently competed in a hackathon hosted by MOBI (Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative), which is a consortium of automotive makers and blockchain technology companies, and we just delivered our final presentation at the BMW Headquarters in Munich this month. This led us to the winning of “Most innovative” and “Most impactful” awards. I am extremely proud of my team for this accomplishment.

Why did you get involved with this project?

It was a no-brainer for me to get involved with the Po8 project because it encompasses two of my biggest passion: automobile and blockchain. Helping to develop and solidify ideas around how autonomous vehicles can one day be operated safely and efficiently around each other and around human-driven vehicles is like dream come true to me. It’s exciting and super cool. This project has the potential to expand into development of autonomous drones and the use of blockchain technology for data sharing on the backend.

Why do you think it is such a powerful idea?

If you can imagine a future when every car on the road are autonomous and no humans are behind the wheel, there is going to be a time in between now and then, when mixture of autonomous vehicles and human-driven vehicles will have to learn to operate safely and efficiently around each other. In fact, such future isn’t too far away from now. We’re already seeing major investments made by automobile manufacturers around the world and they are making the move on deploying autonomous functions within modern day automobiles. These machines are ultimately being designed to help humans increase economic efficiency while increasing roadside safety.

How soon will we see large scale adoption of autonomous vehicles?

Today, various industry players are actively working to develop technology solutions related to autonomous vehicles with the intention of making our lives easier. As an example, Domino’s Pizza and Ford Motor Company have teamed up to deploy fleet of autonomous vehicles for the purpose of delivering hot pizza to the curbside of your home. Another example is with Tesla’s autopilot function that helps decrease the stress of commuting behind the wheel during rush hour.

But even then, it will take some time for the technology to reach its maturity level and to become affordable for the general public. Additionally, government support is going to be the key to success as it will allow the proper alignment of policy and regulation to the advancement of technology. With that said, I envision that it will realistically take at least another 10 years before we start to see mass adoption and utilization of autonomous vehicles on the road for both commercial and personal use.

How can people find out more about you & your work?

I try making frequent updates about my work through LinkedIn and Twitter so please look me up! And here’s a link to the publicly released video of Noblis’ work on Po8:

GBA has about 100 active chapter around the world, with over 15,000 people attending events at 90 different cities. We’re always looking for new professional members to help lead working groups or local chapters. Look us up on

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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