Google’s Street View mapping vehicles will soon become a bit more versatile. That’s because the search giant has partnered with an air quality technology company by the name of Aclima to equip some vehicles in its fleet with special equipment to monitor air quality.
The project will begin this fall when three of Google’s Street View vehicles in the San Francisco area will be outfitted with the necessary hardware, allowing them to monitor ozone, carbon monoxide, methane, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds, among other metrics.
Davida Herzl, Aclima co-founder and CEO, said many things affect air quality – everything from our transportation and energy choices to green space and the weather. Understanding these complex relationships, he added, is critical to managing and improving air quality.
Aclima conducted its initial test in Denver last summer in which it instrumented three Google Street View cars. The test commanded a wealth of time and resources and ultimately provided both entities with an idea of what it would take to scale the operation.
Aclima said its hope is that one day, the information it’s generating about local environments will be available on a daily basis, much like the weather is today, and that it’ll help communities and individual make better-informed decisions at all levels.
If you’ve ever lived or even visited a major city like New York or Los Angeles, you’ve likely experienced the toll that modern life has taken on air quality. A program like this could go a long way in continuing to reduce air pollution without putting additional vehicles on the roads.