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Google and Aclima Are Watching Out the Air for Us

The self-driving Google cars with Anima sensors will be tracking down air quality.

A new partnership was born and, now, Google and Aclima are watching out the air for us, pairing up in order to provide the population a better understanding of air pollution. The tech giant has taken up arms in order to fight environmental issues and has recruited sensor networks company, Aclima, to their ranks.

The team has put forth efforts to map out air pollution on the streets of Denver, Colorado as a pilot test. They strapped on Aclima air quality sensors on three Google Street View cars and set them loose on the streets in order to measure the quantities of harmful substances in the air.

The sensors took note of nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds, all harmful to the good quality of our air and hazardous to breathe.

The three cars registered 750 hours of driving during a month long test and collected 150 million data points of air quality, measuring it for chemicals and marking down out the hot spots on Google’s Street View. Analysis confirmed that the air quality sensor was able to detect harmful chemicals in the air in a street-by-street manner, calculating what could be valuable information for future development.

Aclima founder, Davida Herzl, hopes that one day the data will be as easy to access as the weather in order to help both citizens and local governments understand the air quality in their home cities. Citizens might be able to avoid polluted spots while organizations could take measures against them.

The Google Earth Outreach program plans on helping nations around the world map out the air pollution in their city, targeted to specific spots where green areas could be created in order to alleviate the problem. It will prompt both a better understanding and more efficient solutions. With the help of Google’s driverless cars, Aclima can quickly pursue their mission in clearing the air we breathe and lower the rate of premature deaths caused by air pollution.

The data could be used in several ways. Pedestrians could learn the hot spots and avoid them, local governments could plant green zones in targeted areas or the future self-driving cars could modify their pattern in order not to add more pollution to an already tainted zone. That means it may cost you five or ten minutes of your time due to the detour, but the very air you breathe will be better.

Google and twelve other major companies in the United States have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge on Monday, and committed themselves to fighting for a cleaner environment.

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