Measuring Ozone and Atmospheric Pollution using Drones

By B Ramesh



Rs 75,000

Rs 130,000
Campaign Expired

About This Project

Air pollution is a major concern in most of the metro cities in India. As a result, people living in and adjacent to these cities breathe toxic and polluted air. Cities like Delhi, Allahabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, and many more are in this list where the air is polluted and of poor quality.   The primary focus of this project is to develop a gas sensor array that can measure toxic gases. This array will be attached to a commercial "drone" so as to build vertical atmospheric profiles of pollution in the major urban areas of the country.  

What is the purpose of the research project?

Since, at present, we rely heavily on static, ground based sensors, our ability to measure the concentration of ozone and other pollutants in cities is quite limited. Interestingly enough, it is known to us that these toxic gases have significant vertical profiles.   Though it is possible for balloons and light aircrafts to reach such low altitudes, they are quite expensive. Contrary to this, new technologies, such as low cost commercial micro-sensors that interface with the "Arduino" microcontroller, have the ability to measure important pollutants like ozone with similar resolution and detection limit as those previously available, but at a fraction of the cost and power demands. Also, nowadays Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or "drones" are so easily available and feasible for commercial and recreational purposes, that it seems to be the best option for the project.

What is the significance of this project?

Ozone pollution and air pollution are two very important global miscreants today. Almost half the population of India live in areas with "unhealthy" levels of ozone and air pollution. Studies have shown that exposure to ozone may cause irritation of the respiratory system, reduced lung function, aggravation of asthma, and even lead to premature death. With increasing rise in the levels of air pollution, climate change, and rising temperatures, there is a serious need to monitor the levels of pollutants in the air and monitor the air quality in the country. 

What are the main research goals of the project

Since this is a relatively new concept and approach, we need funds to make this a reality. By purchasing single board computer and sensors, we can efficiently test them on the ground before mounting it onto the drone. If we’re successful in producing valuable data, it will mean a huge progress towards monitoring and controlling the levels of air pollution in the country. Thus, we need your sincere support and donations to help us in our endeavour. 


Target Amount: 130000

Our project goal is two-fold:  First, we develop a sensor array that runs on low power and weight demands, while maintaining low detection limits for ozone and possibly, ozone precursor molecules. The focus here will be on purchasing sensors and interfacing them to an "Arduino" microcontroller. Second, we will verify the detection limits by intercomparison between the new system and an existing ground-based ozone-measuring device.  After the successful verification,  we will attach the array to a preselected commercial UAV or "drone" that can withstand both the power demands and payloads requisite for accomplishing the project goals. Finally, we will measure vertical ozone profiles in order to fully understand its three dimensional distribution within local areas.

Rs. 25000 in Ozone Sensors for testing and deployment

Rs. 10000 in Arduino Microcontroller + memory cards

Rs. 75000 in Purchase of Drone and spare parts

Rs. 20000 in Spares for Drone and Arduino

Meet the Team

Ramesh received his PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry from the University of Leicester, UK and completed postdoctoral research work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Purdue University. He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, IIT Delhi. His research group measures both air quality, and the factors that influence it. Dr Ramesh and his group are passionate about analyzing the quality of the air we as citizens are exposed to, both in the NCR corridor, and around the state of Delhi.