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Ola, Microsoft partner to collect air quality data in Delhi-NCR

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 18, 2019 Published on November 18, 2019

Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) data would be collected through sensors mounted on Ola’s fleet. Representative image   -  The Hindu

The project is expected to collect millions of data points over one year to complete the spectrum of variation in Delhi’s air-pollution

Ride-hailing company Ola on Monday said it has entered with Microsoft Research to measure street level air quality data in Delhi-NCR, to support in the government's efforts to combat air pollution.

As part of this partnership, Ola Mobility Institute and Microsoft Research will leverage their research and data science capabilities to jointly conduct research to provide periodic reports and insights from the data collected. The project is expected to collect millions of data points over the course of one year to complete the spectrum of variation in Delhi’s air-pollution, the company said.

Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) data would be collected through sensors mounted on Ola’s fleet, for which cars have been identified based on complex algorithms to ensure maximum geographical coverage of data. The sensors to be mounted in the engine compartment, have been custom made by a Delhi-based company Purelogic Labs India Pvt. Ltd, Ola said.

“Most air-quality sensors today measure ambient air-quality which is not reflective of the street-level pollution people are subjected to on a daily basis. This project is part of Ola City Sense, a programme to provide intelligent data based insights to cities. We are confident that the data acquired from this study will add a new dimension of knowledge to what is already known about air pollution and help combat the problem better through hyper local strategies,” Anand Shah, Head, Ola Mobility Institute, said.

This data along with traffic and speed data can provide information on bad air-quality hotspots in the city. This project has the potential to be replicated across other cities to support the implementation of National Clean Air Programme.

The project has evinced keen interest from academicians, leading thinkers on air-pollution and government stakeholders. The street-level data will complement the current efforts of governments and environmentalists and feed into their larger air pollution control plans for Delhi-NCR.

The data collected would be made public in the form of dashboards, reports and also raw data would be provided in open data formats to support research in this area. “The recent launch of our Societal impact through Cloud and AI (SCAI) initiative enables us to deepen our engagement with like-minded collaborators. We are excited to be partnering with Ola on the critical challenge of air pollution, leveraging their reach in the country and our expertise in cutting-edge technologies such as IoT-based sensing and AI, to perform a rigorous research study, with the goal of enabling informed solutions,” Venkat Padmanabhan, Deputy Managing Director, Microsoft Research India, said.

Published on November 18, 2019

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