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Google links air quality sensors to its Street View cars

Google has added air quality sensors to its first all-electric Street View car that will help map pollution hotspots.

The company uses a Jaguar Land Rover I-PACE with additional air quality sensors capable of detecting nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions from street to street. 

The technology is initially being tested in Dublin. Information on air quality will be collected over the next 12 months, after which Google’s research partners will analyze the data and develop street-level maps of air pollution.

Dublin City Council hopes the data will help policymakers and encourage people to make small day-to-day changes to help improve air quality.

While air pollution in cities around the world has improved significantly since the Covid-19 lockdowns began in 2020, a study recently found that the changes were smaller than expected.

Jaguar engineers have also worked on integrating Google Street View technology into the vehicle, including new roof mounts for the Street View camera, new rear window glass that allows wiring and redesigned interior switches with Google Street View controls.

Elena Allen, Jaguar Land Rover Project Manager, said: “We are delighted to support this project as it aligns with our own journey to become an electric company and achieve net zero carbon by 2039.

Such partnerships are one of the ways in which we can achieve our sustainability goals and have a positive impact on society.

Paddy Flynn, vice president of geo-operations at Google, said, “Air quality is a serious concern, especially for cities, but there is a gap in terms of localized data and insights available to decision-makers and citizens alike.

” From this project, we are using technology to capture and access this important data, so that we can work with Dublin City Council to drive solution planning. ”

Google has historically used Jaguar’s I-Pace vehicles for its self-driving fleet as part of its Waymo autonomous vehicle program.

Launched in 2018, the I-Pace can travel about 246 miles on a full charge after a 2019 software update that increased its range.

Waymo also plans to open a chauffeur-driven testing service to the American public in the city of Phoenix, Arizona.