By Betul Kahya, Kelly Clark, and Grace Pulliam
1. Tell me about yourself! What’s your background like?
I graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a Masters in Green Technologies and Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business. Green Technologies is an interdisciplinary degree that covers almost all aspects of sustainability such as engineering, business, policy, etc. During my studies, I focused more on the business and engineering aspects of sustainability. I have been interested in climate change since I was a kid and I’m passionate about sustainability.
I did my undergrad in Electronics and Communication Engineering at Istanbul Technical University where I was highly active in community management and leadership. I was the representative for sports clubs and sports-related student assemblies; my involvement in social responsibility projects related to youth education (particularly for young women).
My other passion is sports. I was a competitive athlete in Muay Thai and was a European Muay Thai Cup champion in 2015. Although I currently don’t compete, I train Muay Thai, kickboxing and boxing, and surfing, and I exercise as much as I can. I have also done Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, badminton, and soccer in the past. Other than that, I love nature and camping, as well as traveling and exploring new places.
2. How did you end up joining MOBI? What can you tell me about your role as a MOBI Fellow?
I joined MOBI after working at the USC Center for Cyber-Physical Systems (USC CCI) as a Project Specialist working on incentivizing green behavior and creating a sustainable ecosystem by leveraging blockchain and other digital technologies. I first found out about MOBI when I attended MoCo LA 2019 as a student researcher at USC CCI.
At MOBI, I work as the Fellow for the DRIVES (Distributed Registry for Intelligent Vehicle Ecosystem and Sustainability) Program and mobiNET. My role as a fellow involves assisting the Working Group Lead with administrative tasks and communication with MOBI members, as well as working on product development, research, and design for Citopia and the demos for MOBI’s pilot projects. These blockchain-based smart and connected mobility projects aim to create greener, safer, and more equitable ecosystems including congestion management, incentivizing sustainable mobility, and measuring and tracking supply chain and vehicle emissions. My other role in MOBI is grant writing for our projects and authoring blogs for the MOBI Dashboard.
3. What experiences or interests led you to get your MS in Green Technologies? How does green technology relate to what you do at MOBI?
I believe that we need to leave our planet behind to the next generations at least as habitable as it is today. I volunteered in environmental projects throughout my academic life. In my undergrad, I took a few courses and did an internship in solar energy and then decided that I wanted to learn more about sustainability and green tech. During my research at USC, I came to believe that digital technologies will be disruptive for sustainability.
So far, mobility — and transportation in general — has been one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, human activities are driving an unprecedented change in the global climate. The future of mobility must be sustainable; however, current technologies and business models for sustainability solutions can’t scale fast enough to generate the climate response needed to curb emissions, address the water problem, prevent habitat and biodiversity loss, and more. I believe that digital technologies, especially blockchain, will be key to scaling existing solutions and innovating new ones. In the mobility context, blockchain and IoT will be especially valuable, as they can help create more transparent, decentralized, and trustless platforms, and enable peer-to-peer transactions.
4. Your work is integral to MOBI initiatives such as mobiNET and Citopia. How do these projects fit into the New Economy of Movement?
Citopia and mobiNET will be among the key enablers for the New Economy of Movement. Citopia will enable many B2C, B2B, and P2P decentralized use cases for mobility and serve as the platform that brings cities, transit agencies, OEMs, insurance companies, and mobility service providers together on one platform to interact with each other through dApps and decentralized services. One of the most promising categories of applications is multimodal mobility, where many startups are emerging.
5. How can MOBI Trusted Trip contribute to decarbonization in the transportation industry?
MOBI Trusted Trip (MTT) will enable scaling and monetization of new and existing use cases in smart and low-carbon mobility. By linking an entity’s verifiable digital identity and its timestamped location into a verifiable trip, MTT helps enable capabilities such as multimodal trip coordination, peer-to-peer mobility applications, pay-per-use mobility, and incentives to discourage congestion and carbon emissions which can be integrated into these applications. Depending on the use case, MTT will integrate specific proofs such as “proof of emissions” for carbon emissions tracking at the individual vehicle level. In addition to verifying emissions claims, it can also be helpful in issuing carbon credits and offsets. Another significant use case where the Trusted Trip can be integrated is tracking and tracing emissions and waste in supply chains.