RAC Cars News


New Cameras to Detect Car Emissions

By raccars Published

Britain has received its first pollution-sensitive technology – with the arrival of a new type of camera that has the ability to detect vehicle emissions. Having been initially deployed in Birmingham upon one of the city's most polluted motorways, the smart cameras are now being placed in London for further testing. The first of these cameras is to be installed in Marylebone until Saturday, whilst a second camera will monitor emissions in Blackheath from the 22nd to the 26th of February.

Sponsored by the Department of Transport, the cameras work by shining a laser beam through exhaust fumes, and use reflected light to calculate how many toxins are present within them. The data gathered will make it more difficult for car companies to lie on emissions tests; as well as picking up chemicals, there will also be a separate camera to catch the registration plate of the vehicle, making it easier to regulate low-emission zones planned for the capital and other cities.

Pollution in the UK

London, with its constant stream of congestion, is rife with air pollution - so much so in fact, that up to 9000 people are killed in the capital each year, whilst more than 23,000 people become victims to airborne toxins across the UK annually. Despite attempts to clean up the capital, pollution is still at illegal levels, and is not expected to drop for almost another decade. The primary culprit is NO2, otherwise known as Nitrogen Dioxide, which takes its toll on adults and children alike – especially in the city centre, where many schools reside less than 200 metres from some of the country’s busiest roads. The effects of Nitrogen Dioxide can inflame and stunt the size of children’s lungs for life, as well as increasing the risk of afflictions such as asthma and lung cancer.

A Global Problem

Finding ways to combat the problem of pollution is one of the most important priorities for governments globally. There are vans utilising similar technology in parts of America - monitoring passing vehicles allows them to offer drivers exemption from testing if their emissions are below regulation level. Eastern countries such as China are also heavily affected – even more so than the West, with the problem being severe enough in some cases that areas have been shut down due the public health risks. In Singapore, a university has devised a way to more effectively measure the state of smog by using an app called Airtick, which collates pictures taken by inhabitants of any given city and analyses them in large numbers against official data to determine air quality.

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