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HAPADS: A mobile air quality monitoring platform

From NILU’s Annual Report 2020: Imagine this: You’re driving your lorry down the street, and you get a warning about high levels of NO2 in the air of the cab. Immediately, the vehicle’s built-in air conditioning system switches to self-contained ventilation, filtering out the unhealthy gas and preventing entrainment of more NO2.

“This could be reality in a few years”, says Tuan-Vu Cao, researcher at NILU and co-manager of the project HAPADS: “Highly Accurate and Autonomous Programmable Platform for Providing Air Pollution Data Services to Drivers and the Public”.

In this project, scientists from Gdańsk University of Technology, AGH University of Science and Technology, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, LESS Industries, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, and NILU collaborate. Their aim is to develop a new and highly accurate autonomous mobile air quality monitoring platform for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10, PM2,5, PM1).

Several automobile manufacturers already offer air quality monitoring, but these monitors are integrated into the air conditioning systems and are not available separately. HAPADS will provide a retrofittable solution for both in-cabin air quality monitoring and accurate real-time outdoor pollution measurement through sensors deployed on the vehicle.

HAPADS mobile sensors utilise Edge Intelligence that will allow local data processing and enhance sensor performance:

  • Reduced volume of data to transfer through wireless network
  • Enhanced data quality
  • Shorter response times
  • Real-time decision-making

The innovation in HAPADS is not restricted to the air quality monitoring platform itself, as HAPADS will develop novel sensing technologies. These technologies will avoid the problems faced by the low-cost sensors currently available on the market, which use electrochemical cells for gases and nephelometers for particulate matter.

Another bonus of using small, mobile air quality sensors is that the data they provide will improve the spatial resolution and help identify pollution hotspots. In short, HAPADS will contribute with air quality data at higher temporal and spatial resolution.

“Our goal is to enable end-users such as drivers, transport companies, municipalities, and the general public to make information-driven decisions to mitigate air pollution exposure”, says Cao.