Aerial mapping company Bluesky and the University of Leicester are forming a new joint venture—EarthSense Systems—focused on air quality monitoring. Building on more than four years of collaboration between the two organisations, the new company will initially deliver static sensors, data modelling and derived datasets to UK local and central government organizations.
Projects to date have included trials of an airborne air quality mapper, air pollution monitoring equipment on a rocket and mobile mapping with air quality sensors mounted in electric cars.
Future plans include the establishment of a nationwide network of air quality monitoring sensors, feeding live data for up-to-the-minute air quality predictions.
The current global air quality monitoring market is predicted to grow by almost ten per cent, rising to £4.2 billion (US%5.5 billion) by 2019 with increasing diseases, regulation and pollution identified as key drivers for this growth.
The UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reports that an estimated 29,000 deaths per year in the UK are attributed to particulate air pollution, a reduction in average life expectancy by around six months and a cost of £16 billion (US$21 billion) per year.
The project is part of the Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation. This new Institute brings together all the research work within the University associated with Space (including astronomy and planetary science) and Earth Observation.