Is your street polluted? Bosch’s Climo system measures air quality in real time

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Automakers are collectively marching toward electrification in a bid to curb air pollution in the world’s biggest cities. Bosch and Intel have joined forces to help car companies and city officials figure out where to start by developing a micro-climate monitoring system named Climo that debuted at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The device is a small box that, when installed on the same post as a streetlight, looks an awful lot like a trigger-happy red light camera. Don’t worry; this box isn’t after your points or the contents of your wallet. It relies on eight sensors and advanced software to measure 10 pollutants commonly found in the air such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide. It also measures other conditions including the presence of pollen (a widespread cause of allergies), humidity, and the outside temperature.

Bosch promises the data is available quickly and easily via a purpose-designed application that presents statistics using simple, color-coded graphics. That’s where Intel comes in: Intel’s Internet of Things (IoT) technologies power Climo. It also features cloud-based analytics, data management, and visualization software. An over-the-air updating system (similar to the one that equips members of the Tesla lineup) makes updates a breeze.

It’s not just little red, orange, and green dots on a big map. City officials can use the data in a wide number of ways. Installing Climo boxes in strategic locations reveals which areas of a specific city or neighborhood are the most polluted, which guides decision-makers in policy and planning.

For example, a street could become a zero-emissions zone if data from Climo suggests pollution levels regularly reach dangerous thresholds. It could, alternatively, be closed to certain vehicles during the day and open to all cars at night, when traffic is less dense. The city of Paris recently implemented similar measures. Allergic to pollen? You could receive a notification if Climo detects an unusually high amount of it in the air.

It sounds simple, but it’s groundbreaking enough to merit a CES 2018 Innovation Award in the smart cities category. Frank Sgambati, Bosch’s director of business development, told Digital Trends other climate-monitoring systems are 100 times bigger than Climo and 10 times as expensive. Currently, a single Climo unit costs about $16,000. That figure will likely drop as production ramps up.

Several nations scattered all around the globe have already adopted Climo. Bosch installed the first units in India, where the device was developed, and followed up with similar programs in Germany, its home country, and Sweden. Three devices are monitoring the quality of the air in Las Vegas during CES 2018, including one near the world-famous strip and another close to the city’s airport. While the firm initially installed the devices for demonstration purposes, Sgambati told Digital Trends that city officials are interested in making them a permanent fixture.

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