Google Slaps Air Pollution Monitoring Systems On Street View Cars In San Francisco

The next time you see a Google Street View car cruising down your block, it might be doing more than just snapping photos — it could be tracking air pollution.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has teamed up with Aclima, a San Francisco-Based air quality tech company, to equip three Street View cars with air quality monitoring stations.

The cars, which should hit the streets of San Francisco this fall, will collect data on the levels of carbon monoxide, methane, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds polluting the air.

Aclima says that the roving pollution detectors will be able to help researchers and scientists better manage and improve air quality.

While the Environmental Protection Agency already has air quality sensors spread throughout the city, Aclima says the new mobile monitoring capabilities will fill in the gaps where fine-scale changes in pollution levels are often missed.

“The monitoring network is designed for air quality regulation, but does not give a detailed picture of a community or urban area such that people can get a real sense of what air pollution is around their immediate surroundings,” Melissa Lunden, Director of Research for Aclima, says. “Mobile air quality sensing gives us a picture of the variability. It fills in those missing pixels.”

The two companies previously teamed up to run a test of the system in Denver last year, resulting in a dataset that shows when the air quality is best or worst in certain areas of the city.

Pollution tech company equips Google cars to deliver hyper-local air quality data [The Washington Post]

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