The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

110 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om S ustainability is an important priority for society, and one which Microsoft takes very seriously. We announced in January that we will be going carbon negative by 2030, and by 2050 we aim to have removed from the environ- ment all of the carbon we have emitted since the company was founded in 1975. We’ve backed up this commitment with the launch of our Climate Innovation Fund. The fund is investing $1 billion over the next four years in new technologies and innovative sus- tainability solutions, backing others so that they can be successful in their sustainability journey. We’ve also joined nine other organisations to become a founder member of the Transform to Net Zero initiative, which aims to deliver guid- ance and business plans to enable a transforma- tion in the private sector to net zero emissions. How can these goals practically be achieved in automotive – an industry often criticised, fairly or unfairly, for being amongst the larger polluters? In reality, there have been substantial reductions in the emissions of internal combustion engine vehicles over the last decades, due to the efforts that the industry has made itself and assisted by government legislation. Nevertheless, there is continuing pressure on the industry to improve. This is one of the reasons that we’re seeing a sig- nificant shift towards electric vehicle platforms. While not all the problems of electrification at scale have been solved, we’re now at the point where electric cars are practical, and improve- ments are being made towards making electric trucks and buses viable. Another way in which the industry can drive sustainability is by shifting towards new, technology-driven models of mobility as a ser- vice and shifting away from traditional car own- ership, with the ultimate goals of reducing the number of vehicle-miles driven and increasing the effective utilisation of every vehicle produced. Original equipment manufacturers are on a tra- jectory towards becoming providers of fleets of vehicles for transportation and freight services, and this could be hugely significant if positioned responsibly. By using real time signals of actual demand, mobility providers could begin to utilise their capacity in more efficient ways. One of the examples in which this approach could be effective is in the movement of freight. Currently, a customer might agree to use a sin- gle trucking service, and therefore require their trucks to carry the entire load. As a result, these movements will be done in parallel to those from other competing services while both have a significant percentage of their total capacity left, meaning that there are more vehicles on the road than there needs to be. If, however, we were to use data systems to coordinate freight Driving sustainability As the automotive industry strives to do more to reduce emissions, electric vehicles, new models of mobility and a more open approach to data are powerful tools to help meet the challenge S AN J AY RAV I : M I C ROSOF T V I EWPO I NT