Air quality sensors have been used in automobiles for over 30 years, mostly to improve cabin air quality when traffic pollution is high. These sensors generate more than 2 trillion data points every day, the largest reservoir of air quality data in the world.
Car connectivity now makes it possible to exploit this data to improve air quality for all who spend time in traffic. Recently, Airlib completed a study in a major city to demonstrate how it can be done.
Development of the study
The data were collected for about a year from urban cars equipped with air quality sensors. More than 10,000 trips were used to create high-resolution air quality maps.
A recirculating fin control algorithm was designed based on map values ahead of cars in traffic. The smart flap opening/closing algorithm was then applied to 50 trips per city. The calculated contamination in the cockpit was compared with the same 50 trips without intelligent flap control. The results showed an average reduction of more than 40% in passenger exposure to pollution peaks. This is a compelling result that is expected to have a positive impact on the health and comfort of the cabin.
As the volume of data collected increases, the predictive value of maps will increase and further improvements in air quality can be expected.
It is estimated that major cities can be mapped with air quality data collected from less than one car in a thousand.
Approximately 1,000 cars would be enough in London or Paris. A number that is at hand as soon as one of the major automakers gets involved in the data collection chain. Every year more than 5 million new air quality sensors are mounted on the new connected cars.