EarthSense activates zero emission HGV running to reduce city air pollution

Air quality monitoring technology from EarthSense has provided real time data for trials into the use of low emission vehicles to improve air quality in polluted city centres.

The data, collected by both mobile and static EarthSense Zephyr air quality monitoring sensors, was used to automatically activate zero-emission running of hybrid vehicles as they passed through some of the most heavily polluted city streets.

As part of Project ACCRA (Autonomous and Connected vehicles for CleanerR Air), the data was presented at the Clean Smart City Conference; Improving Air Quality Through Vehicle Technology Innovation, held in Leeds on the 14th June 2018.

ACCRA was a twelve month project, led by Cenex, the UKs first Centre of Excellence for low carbon technology, in partnership with Leeds City Council and Transport Systems Catapult. Using parts of Leeds Clean Air Zone, ACCRA used real time air pollution measurements, captured by EarthSense, to trigger zero-emission running mode in a 7.5 tonne Range Extended Electric Vehicle (REEV) when entering a designated control zone.

During the trials, EarthSense sensors were mounted in key locations in the city centre as well as on vehicles travelling through the area. Data from the sensors was used to update an air quality model, in real time, which was then used to regulate the vehicle's emissions in the most polluted/traffic-dominated areas.

"This is a first - using real time data from both static and mobile sensors to create a dynamic air quality model. This model is then used to define the control zone or geofence, which automatically triggers zero emission running on the truck. This zone can be adjusted, in location, size and time duration, in line with the real time air quality status and in accordance with specific project objectives," commented Tom Hall, Managing Director of EarthSense. "Project ACCRA has therefore successfully created a combination of technology and proven its potential to transform Leeds City Centre and save lives without additional charges to motorists or businesses."

The recently completed Project ACCRA has developed the products and communication protocols that enable the transfer of data between plug-in vehicles and air quality sensors. This data is then used by a Decision Making Engine to monitor, manage and control the location and duration of zero emission operation of plug-in hybrid and range-extended hybrid vehicles within a city centre or other designated zone. Other project partners include clean truck technology company Tevva and transportation network system developer Dynniq.

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