Google is going to be able to tell you which roads are the most polluted using Street View cars

Google maps AclimaYoutubeGoogle vehicles armed with the Aclima environmental sensors

Google Earth has given us tours of deserts, shipwrecks, fictional lands like Middle Earth, and even revealed to us lies about gunned down passenger planes

In its latest move, Google joined forces with Aclima, a startup that creates environmental sensors, to monitor air quality in urban environments using Google’s Street View vehicles on Tuesday. 

Google cars equipped with Aclima’s mobile sensing technology are able to monitor molecules that can negatively affect health and climate changes like nitric oxide, black carbon, methane, carbon dioxide, ozone and Volatile Organic Compounds. 

Aclima recently customised three Google Street View vehicles — the same ones that are normally used to snap photos of surroundings that appear in Google Maps — to drive around the Denver metropolitan area and assess the atmosphere for 750 hours. 

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the air with their own equipment, but the Aclima blog says that its tools can provide us a more detailed picture of our immediate surroundings — what we breathe in as soon as we step out of a subway station. Google and Aclima plan to bring the project to the San Francisco Bay Area in the Fall. 

“With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, environmental health is becoming increasingly important to quality of life,” CEO of Aclima Davida Herzl wrote on the San Francisco-based company’s blog. “Today we’re announcing the success of our integration test with Google, which lays the foundation for generating high resolution maps of air quality in cities.”

Check out the video to find out more about Google and Aclima’s joint endeavours:

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