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Test software to control vehicle emissions in cities

Date: 14 August 2017   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Cenex, the Centre for Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies, has launched a project to trial real-time emissions controls using live air quality data.

The project will be run in association with a number of partners including Leeds City Council, and aims to use technology to make hybrid vehicles automatically switch to zero-emission running in heavily polluted areas.

It will be demonstrated in Leeds. Cenex said the technology could offer new ways for towns and cities in the UK to reduce urban air pollution without placing additional charges on motorists and businesses.

The technology uses geofencing - similar to what is already used in some telematics units - to trigger electric-only motoring when the vehicle enters a particularly polluted zone. Cenex will evaluate the application of the software and the possible scalability of the system in the hope of using the technology more widely in Leeds, as well as Clean Air Zones if they are introduced in the future.

"Local air quality is a persistent and growing problem in urban centres across the UK and globally," said Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex. "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 City Council executive board member with responsibility for environment and sustainability, added, "It is great to be supporting this innovative new technology and looking at how we can best implement it in the city to help reduce air pollution. Improving air quality in Leeds is a huge priority for the council and we are looking at a number of different initiatives to address the issue."

Simon Notley, technical lead at transport intelligence company Dynniq, commented, "This is an exciting opportunity to create an entirely new solution to the problem of air pollution and demonstrate the huge potential for innovation that is being unlocked by modern intelligent transport systems. But most importantly, it's an opportunity to improve the quality of life of everyone living, working or travelling in cities around the world."