30 Dublin bikes to measure city’s air quality as part of CitySense project (updated)

3 Nov 2014

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English, TD, at the launch of the CitySense project in Dublin. Image via Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

As part of the CitySense project, 30 courier bikes in Dublin city centre will be fitted with internet of things (IoT) technology to measure the city’s air quality, air temperature and pollution.

With these bikes traversing the city, Dublin will have access to a wide sensor network that is being called an ‘urban nervous system’. Cyclone Couriers is providing 20 bikes as part of the project, while the Dublin Cycling Campaign will be providing an additional 10 for commuters.

The technological array that will make up the sensors include both an environmental sensor and GPS that can accurately measure carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, smoke and particulates in their given location.

Once this vast amount of data is collated, researchers will be able to map information considered critical to the everyday functioning of the city and its inhabitants, such as environmental pollution, traffic congestion, urban planning and policy development.

Many Irish research organisations and companies are involved in the project, including the Tyndall National Institute (hardware), TSSG Waterford (software), and the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Dublin (design).

Prime example of the internet of things

The project is considered a prime example of Ireland’s development of technology for IoT, with Prof Willie Donnelly, director of TSSG and a recent speaker at Siliconrepublic.com’s Innovation Ireland Forum, saying of the CitySense project, “The IoT places the citizen at the heart of all technologies. CitySense is an ideal exemplar of how research institutes can come together, along with industry, to draw on the expertise of over 1,400 researchers to solve a problem in an innovative way.”

Speaking at today’s launch of the project ahead of the Web Summit, which will see a bike a day being given away, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English, TD, said the CitySense Project is an extremely important concept and a tangible example of how Irish research bodies can collaborate with industry to make a difference to the everyday lives of people.

“The CitySense project will allow people to actively contribute to the well-being of their environment and make decisions based on real-time information, thus enhancing their interaction with their surroundings,” English said.

Update 7 November 2014: This article has been updated to show that there are 30 bikes in total in the CitySense scheme.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic