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Scientists are building drones to track London's pollution levels

Written by
Alexandra Sims
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It's no secret that London is pretty darn smoggy. We’re only a few weeks into 2017, but already the city has made headlines for its sky-high pollution levels. Just five days into the new year the capital breached its yearly air pollution limits and London Mayor Sadiq Khan recently issued a ‘black’ level toxic air alert for the first time.

To help monitor the dirty air in our smog-fest of a city, scientists at Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Laboratory, led by Dr Mirko Kovac, are building drones installed with air quality sensors. The unmanned drones will be able to ‘perch’ on the city’s buildings to oversee pollution levels and will still be able to function in wind and rain.

There are even plans for drones modelled on gannet sea birds, which will be able to collect air pollution data by flying over London and water pollution data by diving into the Thames. If you want to find out more about all the fancy drone tech, the university has just launched a Drone Society, which will be holding talks, courses and retreats for students and the public. 

Photo: David Holt

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