A trial of â€˜geofencingâ€™ technology, used to remotely trigger electric hybrid engines to switch to zero emission mode in polluted areas, has begun in Leeds.
Known as â€˜Project ACCRAâ€™, the trial involves a consortium of six organisations, and will be used to determine if geofencing could be used in clean air zones across the country in a bid to help tackle vehicle emissions.
Co-ordinated by mobility research organisation the Transport Systems Catapult, the will project will involve capturing real-time air quality readings that will trigger hybrid electric engines to switch automatically to zero-emission running.
The technology concept will be tested on a hybrid vehicle interface developed by the Chelmsford-based electric powertrain developer Tevva Motors Ltd. Tevva designs and integrates range-extended electric powertrains for 7.5 -14 tonne trucks.
Transportation network systems developer Dynniq will develop a decision-making engine capable of taking inputs from a range of city data, such as live air quality information and real-time traffic conditions.
Air quality data firm EarthSense will be responsible for monitoring and uploading updated local air quality levels to the interface, which will be used to trigger on-demand zero-emissions running instructions in the participating Tevva vehicles.
The UKâ€™s Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies, Cenex, and the Transport Systems Catapult will evaluate the application, markets, business models and scalability of the system in hopes of using the technology more widely in Leeds and potential UK clean air zones.
Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex, said: â€œLocal air quality is a persistent and growing problem in urban centres across the UK and globally. Using real-time air quality data to automatically instruct vehicles driving into high pollution areas to switch to zero-emissions driving, has the potential to transform urban transportation regulation and save thousands of lives.â€
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds city councilâ€™s executive board member with responsibility for environment and sustainability, said: â€œIt is great to be supporting this innovative new technology, and looking at how we can best implement it in the city to help reduce air pollution. Improving air quality in Leeds is a huge priority for the council, and we are looking at a number of different initiatives to address the issue.â€
Simon Notley, technical lead for Dynniq, added: â€œThis is an exciting opportunity to create an entirely new solution to the problem of air pollution and demonstrate the huge potential for innovation that is being unlocked by modern Intelligent Transport Systems. But most importantly itâ€™s an opportunity to improve the quality of life of everyone living, working or travelling in cities around the world.â€
Leeds city council and Cenex will be presenting at the National Air Quality Conference in London on 23 November. To secure your place, click here.