IIT Kanpur establishes CoE named ATMAN (Advanced Technologies for Monitoring Air-quality iNdicators) for monitoring air-quality

· The CoE ATMAN focuses on building indigenous low-cost sensor manufacturing and AI/ML capabilities to enhance air quality

· CoE ATMAN aims to translate sustainable technologies and business models into practical products and services with cutting edge technology

· One of the projects under ATMAN, AMRIT, will deploy a dense Sensor Ambient Air Quality Monitor network with 1,400 nodes across rural areas in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh

Bangalore, 6 November 2023: The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) has established a Center of Excellence (CoE) named ATMAN (Advanced Technologies for Monitoring Air-quality iNdicators). The CoE is a significant step towards the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative of the Government of India, focusing on building indigenous low-cost sensor manufacturing and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) capabilities to enhance air quality across urban and rural areas of India.

The CoE ATMAN aligns with the vision of the Principal Scientific Advisor of India, aiming to translate sustainable technologies and business models into practical products and services accessible to millions globally.

Supported by philanthropic entities, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, Open Philanthropy and the Clean Air Fund, ATMAN aims to address critical air quality challenges with cutting-edge technology.

Prof. S Ganesh, Officiating Director, IIT Kanpur, said “IIT Kanpur has taken significant strides in the battle against air pollution. This initiative of establishment of the Center of Excellence—ATMAN has firmly positioned the institute at the forefront of efforts to combat air pollution. Through ATMAN, IIT Kanpur is dedicated to the meticulous evaluation of health risks associated with air pollutants, as well as a comprehensive review of air quality standards.”

There are several projects that are currently underway at the ATMAN. The Ambient Air Quality Monitoring of Rural Areas using Indigenous Technology (AMRIT) is a flagship project that will deploy a dense Sensor Ambient Air Quality Monitor (SAAQM) network with 1,400 nodes across rural areas in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. This initiative is the first of its kind to monitor air quality comprehensively in these regions, where data has been limited to cities and towns. The CoE team will be working with the State Pollution Control Board of Bihar and Department of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Government of Uttar Pradesh on AMRIT to enhance air quality action in these states.

The Dynamic Hyper-local Source Apportionment (DHSA) is a cost effective approach to source apportionment that is currently being pioneered in Lucknow and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The data from DHSA will enable city authorities to make informed decisions in their air quality action planning. The long-term vision is to scale DHSA systems across cities in India to inform about emission and sources of air pollution on a dynamic scale based on this project.

The PM2.5 Prediction and Airshed Management is a project that utilizes micro-satellite imagery, sensor-based ambient air quality networks, and machine learning to predict PM2.5 levels at finer resolutions. Additionally, the CoE is developing an airshed approach to address air pollution on a larger scale with data-driven policy decisions.

The CoE is at the forefront of indigenous air quality sensor fabrication, combining it with artificial intelligence and machine learning models to ensure precise and reliable results. The technology’s optimization involves careful sensor placement to maximize overall citizen satisfaction with air quality information available to the public.

Prof. Ajay Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India said, “The CoE ATMAN has been setup to strategize and execute projects in the field of air quality with indigenous sensor manufacturing that is scalable globally. I appreciate the nurturing of Indian start-ups by this Centre. The coordination between science and government agencies is at the centre of citizens’ welfare. I take this opportunity to congratulate IIT Kanpur, the funders, and government agencies for contributing towards this endeavour.”

Prof. Sachchida Nand Tripathi, who heads the Center of Excellence (CoE), expressed enthusiasm for the impactful research that is underway, “CoE ATMAN is spearheading the infusion of Indigenous Technology towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Association of State Government Departments in Bihar and UP, is helping bridge the gap in data driven Air Quality Management (AQM) policy.”

Shri. Arvind Kumar Chaudhary who is presently the Principal Secretary of Finance and formerly, the Principal Secretary of Environment, Forest & Climate Change for Government of Bihar said “I am very happy to see the progress that has taken place in a very short time. We are hopeful that the quality of air pollution data that we are getting will improve significantly. Also, the data will be available at block level. This will enable better planning for mitigation efforts”.

Dr. D.K. Shukla, Chairman, Bihar State Pollution Control Board, said, “The State of Bihar took the initiative to collaborate with IIT Kanpur towards installation of sensor based air quality monitors in all its 534 administrative blocks. The measured air quality data will definitely help formulating action plan towards safeguarding the lungs of rural population in the state. This way Bihar would be the first State to have such collaboration with an institution like the IIT Kanpur. We thank Prof. Sachchida Nand Tripathi and his team, especially Mr. Meenakshi Sundaram, for completing the project in record time.”

Dr. Santosh Harish, Program Officer for South Asian Air Quality with Open Philanthropy said, “Prof. Sachchida Nand Tripathi has embarked on an ambitious effort to deploy indigenously manufactured sensors to improve our understanding of rural air pollution across Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. It’s an excellent example of a scientific effort that looks to generate new knowledge while working closely with government agencies to test out the use of new monitoring technology”.

Priya Shankar, who leads India environment programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies said that measuring and understanding levels and causes of air pollution is the first step towards addressing it. “The launch of the Center of Excellence – ATMAN on Air Quality Management will be a significant basis for helping to achieve cleaner air for more people. We’d like to congratulate the Principal Scientific Advisor of India, IIT Kanpur, and the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for their leadership and collaboration. Bloomberg Philanthropies looks forward to continuing to build on our partnership in support of India’s National Clean Air Program, and working with partners to address air pollution.”

The CoE ATMAN represents a significant stride towards achieving cleaner air for the nation. The holistic approach of the CoE, combining innovative sensor technology with AI/ML capabilities, is poised to set a precedent for sustainable air quality management worldwide.

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