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This year, Google Street View cars will start carrying her air-pollution-monitoring technology

This year, Google Street View cars will start carrying her air-pollution-monitoring technology
[Illustration: Artur Tenczyński]


“Once you have this information, it becomes difficult to understand how we lived without it,” says Davida Herzl, whose 10-year-old company, Aclima, delivers block-by-block air-quality measurements and analysis. Its technology shrinks the work of a trailer-size EPA station down to sensors no bigger than a shoebox, which are installed as networks on buildings or in fleets of cars. They instantly measure CO2, methane, and other pollutants known to cause health issues and climate change, and use machine learning to generate live maps of where these substances are present and in what quantities. Last fall, Aclima announced a partnership with Google Street View that will put sensors in 50 of its globe-traversing cars in 2019, with the potential to expand to the entire 500-car fleet in the future; each car will now collect about 350,000 air-quality data points daily. This information, Herzl says, can impact environmental, health, and urban planning decisions. In 2017, California passed an air-quality law requiring communities to monitor air quality locally, based on a study that used Aclima data. More than 100 local governments and municipalities in the state now use Aclima to diagnose and manage air-quality problems.

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