Real-Time Air Pollution Mapping In Paris Created By Valeo — #CleanTechnica Interview

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The automotive technology company Valeo has created a real-time air pollution level mapping service on the streets of Paris, France. Sensors on 15 Keolis public transportation vehicles and four G7 Green taxis are tracking ozone, fine particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide until January 2019. The service was implemented with ARIA Technologies as a partner, and will be used as the basis for the development of an app which will allow drivers to avoid air pollution in cities. Jim Schwyn, the Chief Technical Officer for Valeo, answered some questions for CleanTechnica about this innovation.

Image via Valeo

1. How is the system able to monitor air pollution in real-time?

Introduced at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, the real-time map of air quality in Paris is a project undertaken in partnership with ARIA Technologies, a leading provider of solutions for computing pollutant dispersion, meteorological analysis, wind, emission, and air quality modeling. A fleet of 19 vehicles — 15 Keolis public transportation vehicles and four G7 Green taxis — were equipped with Valeo particle sensors. These vehicles started to drive in Paris in September 2018 and will conclude the project in January 2019.

Valeo’s sensors are designed to collect information on the concentration levels of various pollutants, including fine particles (PM 10 and PM 2.5), carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone. Once recorded, these data points are fed into an instantaneous air quality index (AQI) map. The vision is that, in time, this innovative solution will lay the groundwork for applications that offer customized, urban itineraries to help drivers avoid peak pollution areas.

2. Can you share more on the technology’s use cases?

This technology will provide the most value in regions and urban areas with high levels of pollution. This map will instantly display air quality levels in a given city, illustrating how pollution varies according to area and time. It will allow users to visualize the state of the air they breathe, much like maps that represent traffic conditions.

3. Can it be turned on and off with a smartphone?

This technology is accessible from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet.

4. Does the system use air filters that need to be replaced at regular intervals?

Yes, the system uses air filters that need to be replaced at regular intervals. In addition, the technology is designed to notify users when a filter needs to be replaced.

5. What sets Valeo’s new pollution mapping system apart from other systems?

Air quality, driving comfort, and safety have always been a key concern for Valeo. Valeo believes that understanding pollution levels in urban areas is vitally important.

With meaningful, reliable data, collected in an innovative way, Valeo will be able to create new, cleaner mobility solutions that it can offer to car manufacturers worldwide. Two new solutions that the company also introduced at the 2018 Paris Motor Show to help motorists lessen their exposure to poor quality air include the Valeo Oxy’Zen and Valeo Clean Road.

Valeo Oxy’Zen uses an ultra-high-efficiency filter to eliminate 98% of ultrafine particles from cabin air. At the same time, a high-performance ionizer cleans and deodorizes the cabin, while pollution sensors provide real-time updates about the air quality inside and outside of the vehicle.The system is activated automatically when necessary. Passengers can switch the air purifier on remotely from their mobile devices to precondition the cabin before entering the car. Valeo has also developed an application called “Clean Road” that can calculate the best route in terms of air quality. It takes into account the number of miles to be traveled, the time it will take and the air quality along the way. Using vehicle-to-cloud connectivity, an algorithm works in real-time to refine its knowledge of the data collected (real-time information from the vehicle’s sensors and public data) to calculate the cleanest route.

6. Could the system direct users away from air polluted by wildfires?

Today, the map has only been used to track pollution levels in the streets of Paris. However, in the future, Valeo looks to bring the map to other parts of the world. This means, in theory, the map could be used in areas such as California. Using the real-time map of air quality, those driving through California could reference the map to select a route that would allow them to avoid peak pollution areas caused by the recent wildfires.

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Jake Richardson

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