Researchers at the University of New Brunswick have developed an environmental monitoring system that can track pollution, road conditions and air quality.
Dr. Brad Nickerson, Dillon Matchett and Victoria Pimentel from UNB’s computer science program partnered with Red Ball Internet this summer to launch a prototype of their technology to monitor pollution in Moncton.
The Mobile Environmental Monitoring (MEM) system, designed as part of a National Science and Engineering Research Council Engage grant, allows municipalities and organizations to measure components of the atmosphere, like temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide and dust in the air.
This summer, the team installed their MEM technology on a Codiac Transpo bus, which was already equipped with Red Ball’s GPS tracking hardware and wireless internet; the technology was used to monitor road and air conditions over a two-week period, as the bus made its way from downtown through the suburbs of Moncton.
“This technology would give municipal governments, for example, a way to monitor environmental conditions continuously to provide citizens and government agencies direct access to pollution maps, anomalous events (e.g. leaking natural gas, high levels of ozone or airborne particulate matter) or deteriorating road conditions,” says Nickerson.
If this data were made available to the public, it could provide important information to allergy sufferers, who might choose to stay inside on a given day.
The system can also measure acceleration and movement on a vehicle, enabling municipalities to detect deteriorating road conditions immediately.
The team is currently assessing the data collected over the course of their infield testing. It will be used to support Red Ball’s ongoing research and may help determine whether environmental monitoring makes sense financially and practically for municipalities.