Connected vehicle and telematics innovator Tantalum Corporation and Imperial College London have been awarded a £1m (US$1.3m) grant by the UK government to develop a real-time NOx emissions estimation capability, giving local authorities the ability to implement dynamic road charging based on actual vehicle exhaust output.
Air pollution is a global problem, with increasing urbanization and congestion pushing it to the top of the agenda for cities worldwide. Towns and cities across the UK have dangerous levels of NO? significantly over legally allowed limits, with streets in London breaking annual limits within a week.
The UK government is soon to publish its new action plan to improve air quality with an expected increased number of Clean Air Zones (CAZs) around the country. The grant from Innovate UK and the Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) will fund the Air.Car project, which will see Tantalum and Imperial College develop the ability to correlate real-time emissions data with location, driver behavior, and time information, creating new opportunities for city planners and individuals to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles.
Tantalum already has real-time CO? emissions estimation capabilities, protected by a suite of patents, with its system using data collected from an OBD (On Board Diagnostic) connected device. The company’s real-time CO? emissions product has already helped customers save an average of 15% in fuel costs through better driving, and this could also reduce NOx emissions by up to 50%.
Once developed, the Tantalum-Imperial Air.Car system will help to reduce CO? and NOx emissions, saving drivers fuel and maintenance costs, while providing public authorities with the real environmental impact of individual vehicles.
The Air.Car system will deliver the ability to enforce a genuinely dynamic road charging scheme based on actual vehicle emissions: fairer and cheaper than the blunt instruments currently being proposed, which rely on blanket camera coverage and do not motivate better driving.
A major part of the Air.Car project is a 1,000-vehicle trial starting in the autumn, to test and fine tune the solution. The team is recruiting fleets from the public and commercial sectors as part of this trial, which will run within London and other UK cities where CAZs are to be established.
The project will also produce rich data sets, which will be able to better inform government on the interplay between congestion, vehicle types and air pollution, helping them to plan cleaner, smarter and healthier cities.