Infrared camera shows ‘invisible’ vehicle emissions

FLIR Systems has released a video to raise awareness of the potentially fatal impacts of air pollution. Its GF Series Optical Gas Imaging cameras use infrared (IR) technology to visually demonstrate vehicle emissions and the resulting air pollution issues.

Recently the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that air pollution kills 16,000 British people a year. In order to raise awareness of the amount of pollution produced by vehicles, professor of air quality at Kings College (London) Martin Williams proposes thermal imaging as a potential means to “see air pollution as it’s happening”.

Prof Williams said: “By using IR technology you can physically see pollutants and how they spread from the source, into the air. Optical Gas Imaging cameras based on infrared technology, that physically show pollution – whether fumes from a car, aeroplane or train – will help enormously in getting the message across.”

With young children so vulnerable to pollution, prof Williams said one of the major concerns is that prams and push chairs are so close to vehicle exhaust level: “If parents could see what it looks like pushing their child through a band of raw pollution, they would take preventive action,” he added.

While the WHO and other environmental groups are leading the way, and using cutting edge technology to track and monitor air pollution. According to FLIR Systems’ business development manager automation and process control, Chris Brown, this only scratches the surface when it comes to raising awareness about the harmful effects of air pollution and reducing its impact.

Brown said: “IR technology, or thermal imaging, is really important in the context of air pollution as unfortunately, we are only born with five senses.In effect, infrared technology provides us with a sixth sense – allowing us to see air pollution before and while it’s happening.”