Belgian e-bike manufacturer Cowboy has given its promise to help riders avoid pollution on commuters with a new navigation feature for air quality in the company’s latest iOS and Android apps. Owners now have the opportunity to choose the fastest or healthiest routes to the destination.
The feature is enabled by integrating air quality data from a company called Breezometer, with a required data resolution of 5 meters (approx. 16 feet). It is specific enough to help riders navigate around polluted routes in densely constructed cities such as Amsterdam, as shown in the video above.
The Breezometer model starts with measured data from more than 47,000 sensors worldwide. It then merges additional data such as live traffic, satellite imagery, smoke, wind and weather using custom algorithms and machine learning techniques. In particular, the Breezometer states that it measures air pollution emitted by “10 million traffic jam sections around the world” every 12 minutes in more than 30,000 cities worldwide. The company then exposes its air quality measurements to a quality assurance process before reporting to ensure accuracy.
It makes perfect sense for Cowboy to incorporate an air pollution model that leans heavily on car traffic. After all, if you’ve ever ridden with a traffic jam, your lungs and eyeballs are aware of hyperlocal pollution created by a host of idle internal combustion engines.
And it’s not like traditional air quality indices that those used by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are without problems. “The public network of 3,900 nationwide monitoring facilities has routinely missed large toxic emissions and daily pollution hazards,” said a cursed Reuters report just two months ago.
So yes, Cowboy’s new air quality navigation feature is a guess, but at least it’s an educated one that can benefit your heart and lungs in the long run.