Taxis in Xi’an, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province now play an important role in the monitoring and reporting of pollution as China’s independently developed navigation satellite system has been installed in them. 

About 200 taxis were equipped with “vehicle-mounted mobile atmospheric monitoring equipment” on August 7, making the real-time monitoring and reporting of PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants much easier. 

According to reports, the setup uses China’s domestically developed BeiDou Global Navigation Satellite System, as well as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). 

Without any inconvenience caused to passengers, the equipment was fixed on the roofs of taxis, local Xi’an news site reported. 

According to the site, the equipment is able to monitor PM2.5 and PM10 at the same time, with a data transmission speed of three per second.

Each taxi can generate 14,400 pieces of data per day. After the data is transmitted to a cloud platform, researchers can detect dust pollution and release information to residents, as well as finding solutions to control the pollution.  

“The timely data generated through taxis can enrich the existing database, making the monitoring more accurate and authentic and conducting air pollution control in a more effective way,” Luo Yameng, a Beijing-based urban planning and eco-city expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

In the past, most of the air-quality monitoring spots were in parks and other places with clean environments, and sometimes local governments repeatedly sprayed water near the air quality monitoring points to temporarily reduce dust pollution, so the data did not reflect the real air pollution situation in the city, explained Luo.

Before its debut in Xi’an, the technology had been through debugging and commissioning for about half a year, said 

Six pilot cabs in Kunming, Southeast China’s Yunnan Province, tried the equipment at the end of last year and received a good response. Shanghai conducted a similar trial early this year with the assistance of a research team from Shanghai-based Tongji University.