New Car Tech Aims To Reduce Pollution Inside Of Vehicles
When we think of pollution, we tend to think about how it might affect us going about our business in inner-cities and high streets; not inside of our cars. But recent research has revealed that emissions in cars, vans and lorries can be up to 140% higher than what’s found outside. In addition, it’s now also known that the average city-based commuter breathes in the equivalent of 180 cigarettes a year of pollution. Now the tech company Airlabs wants to tackle the issue head-on.
Claiming that ‘the air inside your car is only as clean as the exhaust from the car in front’, Airlabs has designed and manufactured what it calls the ‘Airbubbl.’ An in-car air purifier, the device fits behind the headrest of the passenger seat and works to clean the air within vehicles. It traps hazardous emissions and particulates that can pass through most cars’ air filters.
Commercial drivers are most at risk from particulate and emission exposure. For example, taxi drivers can consume the equivalent of a staggering 980 cigarettes’ worth of NOx a year; drastically increasing their changes of developing cancer, asthma, heart disease and strokes. It’s also believed that particulates can reduce alertness and increase reaction times. The CEO of Airlabs, Marc Ottolini, has suggested fleets aren’t aware of the risks saying “commercial drivers are forbidden from smoking in their vehicles because we all recognise the risks associated with smoking and passive smoking, yet we underestimate the damage that a vehicle filled with polluted air is having on the health of professional drivers. We want drivers and their employers to understand these risks and help guarantee a safe working environment.”
The Airbubbl works via USB port or a cigarette lighter (a pleasant irony) and sits on a seat’s headrest. It uses dual fans to draw in pollutants which, in turn, pass through a nano carbon filter. This effectively traps the likes of oxone, nitrogen dioxide, fine particles and even unpleasant odours. Filtered and clean air is then released at the height of drivers heads. Airlabs claims that the device can clean up to 95% of the air in a vehicle in less than 12 minutes. It can be controlled via a smartphone app and can log the amount of air that’s been cleaned; demonstrating to fleet managers which drivers are using the devices and how frequently.
With the fleet industry changing so drastically and swiftly, it’s not unlikely that protecting drivers from pollutants and emissions will simply become a matter of duty of care. Should this be the case, companies like Airlabs are no doubt onto a good thing. With each device costing £299.99, and new filters costing £40.00, would you invest in them to protect your drivers?
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