Air quality

Smarter, healthier cities
with fine-grained, real-time air quality maps

Air pollution is one of the biggest problems and causes of death for our urbanised society. With a dense network of low-cost sensors and smart algorithms and analytics, imec at Holst Centre creates a fine-grained real-time air quality map to support smart city policies.
Technology explained

Air quality varies wildly according to location or time of day. So, you need to be able to take targeted actions instantly to ensure that everyone breathes healthy air, all of the time. Imec’s real-time cloud-based air quality monitoring approach raises the quality of low-cost off-the-shelf sensors for accurate measurements of NO2 or particulate matter levels. In this large-scale set-up, data is collected from a wide array of sources: from reference stations to citizen science sensors, and mobile sensors mounted on postal trucks, for example.

After automatic calibration and AI-based interpolation, this data can be used to make deep analyses and draw a fine-grained real-time air quality map that allows users or systems to take appropriate actions, with adaptive speed limits and dynamic traffic control.

Societal benefits

You cannot manage what you cannot measure. With this highly localised air quality data, imec at Holst Centre facilitates the creation of a digital twin: a tool designed to aid policymakers in their complex decisions about liveability in the city. Fine-grained air quality maps can also be used to measure your individual pollution exposure and suggest healthier routes for you to walk or cycle. They can also provide solid evidence of the impact of urban interventions, as in the EU LIFE Critical project in Dordrecht, such as road and building constructions for healthier and liveable public spaces.