Air Pollution Robot

The dangers of air pollution to human health are well documented, though the traditional methodology of collecting and reporting on sample lags behind the need to keep abreast and regulate air pollution in a meaningful amount of time. The use of drones and robots have been identified by researchers as resources that can be tweaked to serve that purpose, and three researchers based in Beijing have begun to make strides in that direction. Their smart drone, developed in 2017, is fitted with air pollution sensors and artificial intelligence to both detect and pinpoint the causes of air pollution; useful for everyday pollution monitoring but also disaster (such as industrial fires) monitoring. While apparently still in the development phase, the researchers have already built prototype external and internal sensors and sample collection tools that the robot could use while flying through the air. So far, the researchers state that their robot is able to detect 11 dangerous air pollutants, as well as wind direction and speed. Because the robot is being designed to navigate independently and make navigation decisions based on the pollutants it is monitoring for, there are also internal sensors monitoring the robot’s performance. As stated earlier, this robot is still in the research and development phase, but the potential for this drone to be marketable and mass-produced is a stated intention of the researchers, so over time it likely will evolve to meet this objective. The efficacy of the drone of course extends beyond technical capacity; effective control and mitigation is a responsibility that rests with regulators and their ability and willingness to enforce air quality standards that may or may not exist. However, having effective monitoring tools is a step in the right direction.

Chen, Yuanhua & Li, Jie & Qi, Chunxue. (2017). Design and implementation air quality monitoring robot.


Artificial Life, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Ecological Monitoring, Industry/Natural Commodities, Lifestyle, Monitoring