The Record - Issue 21: Summer 2021

96 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om green power improves. As sustainable sources of electricity become more dominant, emissions related to the automotive industry will be signif- icantly reduced. Electric vehicles will also enable a shift in how vehicles can be maintained. Currently, replacing the power train or swapping the gearbox in a vehicle with a combustion engine is a complex and expensive task. With an electric vehicle, this task becomes a lot easier, potentially opening up the possibility of a much longer operating life with recycled parts. “Manufacturers can start to design vehicles not to be scrapped after eight years or 10 years, but to last 20 or even 30 years,” says Ravi. “What we believe will happen is that people will shift away from seeing vehicles as a lifestyle choice towards a more utilitarian view geared to mobility, and that means that you can engineer longer lifespan products. If you’re not as concerned with selling vehicles to end consumers, then having some of the parts be recycled or refurbished isn’t a prob- lem. It’s more economically efficient and sustain- able. And data collected through the vehicle’s life can help identify parts with significant remain- ing service life, as opposed to others which might need to be recycled or remanufactured, helping to drive circular manufacturing. As part of this same trend, for example, Microsoft is moving to 90 per cent reuse/recycling of parts for servers in our data centres. Shifting expectations for transportation as a whole can also influence the introduction of new, more sustainable mobility systems. Currently, private cars are a common method of transpor- tation, with many vehicles operating below their maximum occupancy and remaining parked for the majority of the time. As a result, there are more vehicles on the road at any one time than necessary, creating additional emissions and con- gestion. And for individual vehicles, the impact in carbon emissions to build the vehicle is not neces- sarily amortised well from a point of view of uti- lisation (benefit received) or effective service life. The negative experiences that this creates has seen greater numbers of people shift towards different, shared modes of transport, especially in large cit- ies and amongst younger generations. The potential introduction of autonomous vehicles could also have a significant impact on the roll out of these systems. Without the need for a driver, fleets of multi-passenger vehicles which more closely match the required demand at any time of the day in terms of optimal size would become economically viable. “The industry as a whole is beginning to adapt to these different modalities,” says Ravi. “That helps drive sustainability, because its not very sustain- able to have cars that are only driven for an hour per day on average. All the energy and resource consumption that went into building that car is not easily justified if you don’t use it enough. Less “Data is the key to improving sustainability in the automotive and transportation industries” F E ATUR E