Couriers use IoT to track London air pollution

Couriers use IoT to track London air pollution

Freevolt-based device could help build world’s most advanced air pollution map

IoT devices are being fitted to bicycle couriers to track air pollution in London. The scheme is looking to build up one of the most advanced air pollution maps in the world.

CleanSpace tags build by Drayson Technologies will be attached to 50 of Gophr’s bike couriers in London. These tags will measure, in real time, carbon monoxide levels in the air.

The tags are powered by the firm’s Freevolt technology that harvests residual radio frequency energy from the air, including from 4G and WiFi signals. These are also personal air pollution smart sensors that enable people to measure and monitor the pollution levels in the air they breathe, wherever they are, at any time.

CleanSpace tags and LoRa

The couriers, all based in London, will map pollution levels on their journeys across the capital, collecting data that will help to build a real-time map of London’s air pollution as they carry out their same-day deliveries. The couriers will also be equipped with LoRa IoT trackers by Inmarsat, the global mobile satellite communications services provider; enabling highly accurate, real-time location and height data to be collected on the move.

The carbon monoxide data collected from the CleanSpace Tags will feed into the Air Map, which will show the pollution levels at the location of each courier, in real time. With the couriers predicted to travel over 17,000 miles each month, the amount of indoor and outdoor air pollution data collected will be on a scale that has never been achieved previously. The collected data is anonymised and fed into the CleanSpace mobile application, alongside other Tag users’ data, to provide users with personal and actionable air pollution data.

The LoRa (Long Range) trackers will track the location of the Gophr couriers via satellite without having to use mobile location-based services which drain battery life. This, claimed Drayson, provides more accurate readings on the move, with the need for fewer access points to cover the whole area of a city.

Lord Paul Drayson, chairman and CEO of Drayson Technologies, said the CleanSpace network aims to provide the world’s most advanced air pollution map using thousands of personal sensors.

“This partnership brings together the combined expertise and commitment of Drayson Technologies, Gophr and Inmarsat so that people in London can see the air they breathe and help to create, not just a smart city – but a smarter society.”

Can IoT solve a global problem?

Greg Ewert, president for Enterprise Markets at Inmarsat, said air pollution is a global problem, contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK alone.

“Creating an accurate air pollution map at breathing height will contribute to the better understanding of how to combat this issue and improve air quality in London. This is the first example of a public LoRa network in London and we hope this partnership with Gophr and Drayson will be the first of many city air pollution projects.”

Philipp Schuster, MD of Loxone UK, told Internet of Business that “air monitoring can be used to divert traffic (and pedestrians) toward a less congested and therefore less polluted route and these are practical, achievable ways to make a city smart.”

“Residents of smart cities should expect an increase in quality of life, with better, quicker access to healthcare, reduced time of commuting and less pollution.”

Related: Pigeons carry sensors to track air pollution in London

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers IoT, mobile technology, cloud, and infrastructure. In the past, he has also worked as an analyst for both Gartner and IDC. He has made numerous television appearances discussing the technology trends and companies that shape our lives.