Engineering students devise better air pollution monitoring with drones

A group of visionary students has devised a system to improve the way urban centers monitor air pollution levels. Their plan calls for fleets of automated drones to patrol sections of city skies, communicate their sample readings in real-time, then return to their docks to recharge for the next flight. 

Drone mobility provides truer measurement of pollution levels

The result of that recurring, mobile air testing process is not only more accurate measurements of pollution levels across urban areas. It also provides enhanced qualitative information on which neighborhoods and communities bear the worst brunt of air pollution over time. The drone-based approach was the work of a group of students and recent graduates from the New Engineering Education Transformation program at the Massachusetts Institute of  Technology.

Their drone system represents a marked contrast to the way most cities currently monitor air pollution by using stationary measuring units. Given the…