Using AI and IOT to improve air quality in cities

The problem:

In many urban areas, air pollution poses a significant health risk, with traffic emissions being a major contributor. Local governments face the dual challenge of needing to improve air quality while contending with traditional air quality monitoring methods that are often costly and inaccurate. This situation creates a gap in obtaining reliable, consistent data to identify and address pollution hotspots effectively.

The solution:

Telefonica, in collaboration with local governments and Kunak Technologies, developed an advanced system for more accurate air quality monitoring. This system integrates data from various sources, including existing monitoring stations, mobile sensors on electric cars, anonymized mobility data from Telefonica's network, and open data like weather forecasts and census information. By feeding this data into AI algorithms, the system provides granular insights into air quality at different times and locations, presented via a user-friendly dashboard. This innovative approach enables municipalities to make data-driven decisions for better urban air quality management.

The impact:

The tool's ability to provide precise and granular air quality data marks a significant advancement in environmental management for cities. In Madrid, it supports the city council by enabling hyper-local and monthly tracking of air quality and emissions, leading to evidence-based policy decisions. In Valladolid, the system informs the development and validation of the city's low-emission zone (LEZ), aiding in compliance with European air quality regulations and identifying previously unknown pollution hotspots.

The technology:

The core technological innovation in this project lies in the integration of AI with IoT technologies and big data. The AI algorithms analyse comprehensive data sets to generate granular insights on air quality, which are then presented through a user-friendly dashboard. This technology allows for an unprecedented level of detail in monitoring pollution levels, transforming the way cities understand and tackle air quality issues.

The ecosystem:

This project represents a collaborative effort between Telefonica, local governments, and Kunak Technologies. It's an example of how public-private partnerships can effectively address environmental challenges. The integration of diverse data sources and expertise from different fields underscores the project's holistic approach to tackling air pollution.

Responsible AI by design:

A key aspect of the project is its adherence to privacy standards, using aggregated and anonymized data from Telefonica’s mobile network. This approach ensures that individual privacy is maintained while providing valuable environmental insights. Additionally, the project aligns with European environmental policies and regulations, contributing to broader goals of improving air quality and public health.