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New joint venture to tackle air pollution announced

EarthSense Systems, a new joint venture between aerial mapping company Bluesky and our University, is set to spearhead innovations in air quality monitoring.

Building on more than four years of collaboration between the two organisations, the new company will initially focus on delivering static sensors, data modelling and derived datasets to UK local and central government organisations.

Projects to date have included trials of an airborne air quality mapper, air pollution monitoring equipment on a rocket and mobile mapping with air quality sensors mounted in electric cars.

Future plans include the establishment of a nationwide network of air quality monitoring sensors, feeding live data for up-to-the-minute air quality predictions.

Professor Roland Leigh, Technical Director of EarthSense Systems and a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: “Bluesky is a recognised and respected brand with a reputation for innovation, quality and service within the geographic data acquisition sector. In addition to Bluesky’s business acumen, the team also provides significant geospatial data and processing resources which will enable EarthSense to deliver actionable insights to decision makers at regional, national and international levels.”

The current global air quality monitoring market is predicted to grow by almost ten per cent, rising to £4.2 billion by 2019 with increasing diseases, regulation and pollution identified as key drivers for this growth. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reports that an estimated 29,000 deaths per year in the UK are attributed to particulate air pollution, a reduction in average life expectancy by around six months and a cost of £16 billion per annum.

The project is part of the Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation. This new Institute brings together all the research work within the University associated with Space (including astronomy and planetary science) and Earth Observation.

A video about air quality research at the University of Leicester is available here:

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