Ola and Microsoft Research partner to measure real-time street-level air quality in Delhi-NCR

Ola will mount sensors on its vehicles to gather data on air quality in Delhi-NCR. Ola Mobility Institute and Microsoft Research will conduct joint research and make the data publicly available to researchers and policy-makers.

Ola and Microsoft Research have entered into a partnership to measure street-level data on the air quality in Delhi-NCR, to support the government's efforts to combat the alarming levels of air pollution in the region.

As part of this partnership, Ola Mobility Institute and Microsoft Research will leverage their strong research and data science capabilities to jointly conduct research and publish periodic reports and insights based on the collected data.  


The project, set to begin this month, is expected to involve the collection of millions of data points over the course of one year to observe the spectrum of variation in Delhi’s air pollution.

According to a press release issued, data on particulate matter (PM 2.5) would be collected through sensors mounted on Ola’s fleet, for which cars have been identified based on complex algorithms to ensure maximum geographical coverage of data. The sensors, to be mounted in the engine compartment, have been custom-made by a Delhi-based company, Purelogic Labs India Pvt Ltd. 

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Venkat Padmanabhan, Deputy Managing Director, Microsoft Research India, said 

“At Microsoft Research India, we have a track record of conducting research that addresses pressing societal issues with innovative technology. The recent launch of our Societal impact through Cloud and AI (SCAI) initiative enables us to deepen our engagement with like-minded collaborators. We are excited to be partnering with Ola on the critical challenge of air pollution, leveraging their reach in the country and our expertise in cutting-edge technologies such as IoT-based sensing and AI, to perform a rigorous research study, with the goal of enabling informed solutions.”


The project has evinced keen interest from academicians, leading thinkers on air pollution, and government stakeholders. The street-level data collected is expected to complement the current efforts of governments and environmentalists and feed into their larger plans for controlling air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

The data collected would be made public in the form of dashboards and reports and the raw data too would be provided in open data formats to support research in this area, the release stated.


Speaking about the partnership, Anand Shah, Head, Ola Mobility Institute, said,

“Air pollution is one of the biggest global environmental challenges of today. Most air-quality sensors today measure ambient air quality which is not reflective of the street-level pollution people are subjected to on a daily basis. This project is part of Ola City Sense, a program to provide intelligent data-based insights to cities. We are confident that the data acquired from this study will add a new dimension of knowledge to what is already known about air pollution and help combat the problem better through hyper-local strategies.”


This data, along with data on traffic and speed, can provide information on the adverse air quality hotspots in the city. This project has the potential to be replicated across other cities to support the implementation of the National Clean Air Programme, the release added. 

(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)


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