Ola and Microsoft Research have entered into a partnership 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 strong research and data science capabilities to jointly conduct research to provide periodic reports and insights from the data collected.
The project is set to begin in November 2019 and 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. 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.
Venkat Padmanabhan, Deputy Managing Director, Microsoft Research India, said “At Microsoft Research India, we have a track record of conducting research that addresses pressing societal issues with innovative technology. 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.”
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.
Speaking about the partnership, Anand Shah, Head, Ola Mobility Institute, said, “Air pollution is one of the biggest global environmental challenges of today. 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 program 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.”
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 the National Clean Air Programme.