Air quality data to trigger electric hybrid engines

Leeds City Council joins Project Accra with aim of using smart tech to reduce emissions in polluted areas

Leeds City Council is take part in a project demonstrating smart technology to control the behaviour of hybrid cars in relation to air quality.

Traffic on Leeds inner ring roadNamed Project Accra, it will use live data on air quality to trigger electric hybrid engines to automatically switch to cutting out all their emissions in heavily polluted areas.

The project will be run in Leeds, with the council joining a consortium with Cenex – the national centre of excellence for low carbon technologies – the Transport Systems Catapult, Tevva Motors, air quality specialist EarthSense and transport network systems developer Dynniq.

The technology concept, known as active geofencing, will be tested on a hybrid vehicle interface developed by Tevva Motors, while Dynniq will develop a decision-making engine that uses a range of data, such as air quality and real time traffic conditions.

EarthSense will be responsible for monitoring and uploading the data on local air quality to the interface. Cenex and the Transport Systems Catapult will carry out the evaluation, looking at the potential markets, business models and scalability.

More details of the project are expected to be developed over the next few weeks.

Persistent problem

Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex, said: “Local air quality is a persistent and growing problem in urban centres across the UK and globally. Using real time air quality data to automatically instruct vehicles driving into high pollution areas to switch to zero emissions driving, has the potential to transform urban transportation regulation and save thousands of lives.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds’ executive board member for environment and sustainability, said that improving air quality in the city is a “huge priority” for the council and that this is one of a number of initiatives on the issue.

Cenex said the Government has estimated that nearly 50,000 people die each year in the UK due to poor air quality. While there are plans in place to minimise this – such as the introduction of clean air zones in cities – the complexity of implementing emissions controls in specific areas will create costs for councils, motorists and businesses.

Image by philld CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons