20. February 2019

It’s a topic that has been in the media every day for months – air quality. Ultrafine dust particles and nitrogen oxides that occur in our air and contaminate it. These values are measured, for example in Aachen, by two fixed measuring stations whose measurement results are freely available to everyone on the website of the NRW State Office for Nature, the Environment and Consumer Protection. It quickly becomes clear that the measuring station, which is set up in a park, has a much better air quality than the measuring station, which is located directly on a busy four-lane road. A result that does not surprise anyone. Did you know that these measuring station values give a statement about an area of 5 x 5km²? On the one hand, it is unbelievable that a measuring station in the middle of the city surrounded by tall houses should have such a range. The city of Aachen also came up with the idea in 2018 that this would not be sufficient and installed, for a certain period of time, further measuring stations that were subsequently evaluated in a laboratory. A step in the right direction. But in order to make reliable real-time statements and forecasts, you need more data.

This is precisely the goal that we are pursuing together with GEOTAB. Data.
Originally, the Canadian company dealt with telemetry and fleet management. Engine data, GPS data, fill level indicators, weather data and much more are collected here, so why not also information on fine dust and nitrogen oxide? So colleagues from Center Smart Services and GEOTAB met at the beginning of December and jointly set up the first prototype. This was tested over the Christmas days and the turn of the year and at the beginning of the year the next prototype was available. The first company to agree to the test was the Jacobs Group. The idea of measuring air quality on the road directly at the source was convincing. A few weeks and a further optimization of the sensor later, it is located on Aachen’s streets and measures the air quality. These are only a few data for the time being. We will make this data publicly accessible in the form of a “heat map” so that everyone who is interested has the opportunity to find out about Aachen’s air quality.

But the aim is not just to collect data. The Center Smart Services is concerned with the development of digital business models, which models these could be, who benefits from them and how quickly they affect our everyday lives. You will find out more about this here shortly.