RIO: Optical Infrared Radar for remote detection of vehicles with excess emissions

RIO remotely detects emissions from vehicles on road. In an analogue manner than a speed limit radar, it would be possible to designate the pollution substances that each car emits to the atmosphere..

The system is based on a principle under which gas compounds absorb radiation in certain wavelength of electromagnetic specter. These absorption bands are called “spectral signature” of each gas, and generally are found in infrared and ultraviolet areas of the specter. That is the reason why gas compounds are, more likely, invisible to the human eye.

The described principle is exploited by means of a multispectral imaging system, capable of adequately selecting the gases of greatest interest (carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides). Using a multispectral imaging system able to select gases of interest (CO, CO2, hydrocarbons, particles), RIO can identify deficiencies in the combustion process, key responsible for air pollution.

Particle detection is carried out by a similar principle, selecting the most suitable wavelengths for the absorption of those particles whose diameter is considered of greatest interest (NOx, PM2.5, PM10, etc).

Figure. Left, scheme of RIO system for on road high emitter vehicle detection.
Right, system configuration for passive measure on gantries above the road for multilane detection

Operative prototype RIO belongs to gas spectroradiometry research line of LIR-Infrared LAB, Carlos III University of Madrid, and it has been crystallized in various I+D projects. Most relevant of them was funded by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) and ended with the development of a prototype for high emitters detection based on emissions ratios referencing carbon dioxide (IPT-310000-2010-031).

Also, research and development on this area has generated Spanish patent P2012322013 “Método y dispositivo para la detección y medida de la concentración de gases” UC3M property. This is a particularization of the multispectral imaging technology, applied to the detection of contaminants by the described procedure.

The proposed system consists of a device that remotely detects pollutants emitted by passing vehicles. Analogous to a conventional speed radar, it would be possible to assign to each individual vehicle the levels of pollution it emits into the atmosphere.