First system for remote traffic pollution detection created in Spain

16 September 2013
By Tereza Pultarova
Mobile version
Share |
A team of Spanish researchers has developed a system for real-time pollution monitoring to be used to evaluate automobile traffic

A team of Spanish researchers has developed a system for real-time pollution monitoring to be used to evaluate automobile traffic

A group of Spanish researcher centres and companies, including the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, has developed the first infrared system for real-time remote detection of pollutants from cars on highways.

The system, currently capable to monitor up to three lanes in real time, should eventually enable conducting a global test of automobile emissions.

Collecting data on traffic density and associating them with emissions and consumption of each vehicle, the system can analyse the impact of traffic on the environment and advise how to improve road safety.

In essence, the system works similarly to a radar, but detects excess pollutants from each individual vehicle.

The prototype, developed in the Infrared Lab of the company UC3M, is based on the modification of an infrared multispectral image camera with interferential filters. Its creators have started from the premise that all toxic gases have an emissions signature in the infrared which enables them to be detected by remote technology.  

“These filters are located in a wheel that turns at a high speed in front of the detector and they provide consecutive images of the same scene on different bands, which allows for remote detection of some unburned gases, like CO2, CO and HCs,” explained Fernando López, head of the UC3M’s Infrared Lab.

The team has recently tested the prototype on a busy highway near Madrid. They believe the technology could be used in the future to improve the analyses of emissions from automobiles in a city or region, possibly enabling new ways to tackle the increasing pollution.

The government could, for example, use the measurements obtained through the system to ban the most polluting vehicles. According to available data, less than five per cent of vehicles are responsible for more than 90 per cent of toxic emissions.  Identifying and possibly excluding from traffic the worst emitters, would not only reduce emissions but also increase the overall energy efficiency of road transport.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1607

"As the dust settles after the referendum result, we consider what happens next. We also look forward to an international summer of sport."

E&T jobs

  • Control System Engineer

    United Utilities
    • Lancaster, Lancashire
    • Up to £33415 + Comprehensive Benefits

    Provide ICA maintenance and engineering support to the Water & Wastewater Production

    • Recruiter: United Utilities

    Apply for this job

  • Signal Processing Engineer

    B&W Group
    • Steyning, West Sussex
    • Competitive Salary

    We are looking for a Signal Processing Engineer to support the R&D process on active loudspeaker products.

    • Recruiter: B&W Group

    Apply for this job

  • Principal Mechanical & Electrical Engineer

    De Montfort University
    • Leicestershire
    • Grade G: £36,672 - £46,414 per annum

    Join the Projects Team to develop and manage medium to large projects on the university estate.

    • Recruiter: De Montfort University

    Apply for this job

  • Advanced Commissioning Engineer

    National Grid
    • Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, England
    • £46000 - £57000 per year

    National Grid is at the heart of energy in the UK. The electricity we provide gets the nation to work, powers schools and lights everyone's way home. Our energy network connects the nation, so it's essential that it's continually evolving, advancing and i

    • Recruiter: National Grid

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Design Engineer

    Oxford Instruments
    • Yatton, Bristol
    • Competitive salary plus excellent benefits

    We are looking for an electrical designer to join our engineering design team.

    • Recruiter: Oxford Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Skilled Electrical Fitter

    • Bolton
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity?   The Electrical Fitter will carry out manufacturing and test tasks within the electrical department in accordance with product certification procedures, defined workmanship  ...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Manufacturing Technician

    • Stevenage
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity?   As a qualified craftsman with experience in electrical manufacturing, the Manufacturing Technician will report to a Team Leader, receiving day to day ...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Consultant Engineer (Electrical Power)

    BAE Systems
    • Cumbria, Barrow-In-Furness, England
    • Negotiable

    Consultant Engineer (Electrical Power) Would you like to play a key role in providing technical direction to the design of power systems on the Successor class submarines, which will replace the current Trident-equipped Vanguard class, currently in servic

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Supply Restoration Team Manager (HV/SAP)

    • Oxford, Oxfordshire
    • Salary: £37,588 to £49,645 + Car (SSE8) Depending on skills and experience

    SSE is looking to recruit a Supply Restoration Team Manager to join our existing team in Oxford.

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Technical Lead - Global Operations, Engineering & Laboratory

    Pfizer Ltd
    • Kent

    An exciting opportunity has arisen to join a dynamic team of professional engineers, supporting the development of novel drugs.

    • Recruiter: Pfizer Ltd

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶


Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T