Cycle couriers help create real-time map of London’s air pollution

Bicycle couriers in London are taking part in a project to create an advanced map of the capital’s air pollution.

Courier company Gophr will equip 50 of its cycle couriers with portable air pollution sensors developed by Internet of Things platform company Drayson Technologies. These smart sensors, called CleanSpace Tags, will collect carbon monoxide levels on the move, at breathing height, to help to build a real-time map of the city’s air pollution as the couriers make their deliveries.

The Gophr couriers will also be equipped with LoRa long-range trackers supplied by satellite telecommunications provider Inmarsat, which will track their location via satellite without having to use mobile location based services which drain battery life. This provides more accurate readings on the move, and needs fewer access points to cover the whole area of a city, Inmarsat said.

The CleanSpace Tag is powered by new technology from Drayson Technologies called Freevolt, which harvests and recycles wasted wireless signals to power low-energy devices so their batteries never need changing.

Data collected by the tags is anonymised and fed into the CleanSpace mobile application to provide personalised and actionable air pollution data.

In the coming weeks and months, Drayson Technologies expects more organisations, groups and individuals to be equipped with CleanSpace Tags to collect data for the project.

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 powered by Freevolt. 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.”

Greg Ewert, president for Enterprise Markets at Inmarsat, added: “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.”

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