Cab aggregator Ola has entered into a partnership with Microsoft Research to measure real-time, street-level air quality in Delhi-NCR through sensors mounted on its cabs, a spokesperson of the company said on Monday.
The project will begin this month 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.
"The joint research will be conducted by Ola Mobility Institute and Microsoft Research India, and make the data public for the benefit of researchers and policy makers," a statement from Ola said.
"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," said Venkat Padmanabhan, deputy managing director, Microsoft Research India.
Delhi faces severe air pollution crisis in winters with the interplay of a lot of contributing factors including vehicular pollution, farm fires and dust.
"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," said the Ola spokesperson.
The sensors have been custom made by a Delhi-based firm.
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, said Anand Shah, head of Ola Mobility Institute.
"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," he said.
The PM 2.5 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, said the Ola spokesperson.