Prateeti Mukherjee, ReSENSE Lab Intern, Department of Computer Science, Institute of Engineering and Management, India, and Dhananjay Singh, ReSENSE Lab Director, Department of Electronics Engineering, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Korea
Air pollution is perceived as a modern-day curse, a fatal by-product of increasing urbanization and rapid industrialization. The phenomenon has a plethora of negative impacts, including human health issues, damage to ecosystems, decreasing quality of food crops, and abatement of environmental standards. Passenger vehicles are a major contributor to air pollution, producing significant amounts of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, among other pollutants. It is therefore necessary to enforce greener practices among citizens and introduce a reliable mechanism that encourages responsible behavior to support the environmental cause. The proposed work aims to circumvent the aforementioned problem with an IoT-enabled solution powered by blockchain technology to foster environment friendly practices in registered vehicle owners. The real essence of this project is to leverage technological innovations to solve pollution issues that befoul the urban atmosphere. We seek to achieve this goal with a financial reward-penalty scheme that drives the urban populace to practice green living, while monitoring pollution levels using an IoT device. The ability of blockchain networks to provide a verifiable record of actions and violations , coupled with the capabilities of Internet of Things (IoT) paradigms to detect pollution levels present in vehicular exhaust, is exploited in this project.
1. Prevalent Challenges
With a rampant rise in urbanization, we find ourselves in an era of near-exponential rise in population density in the world’s fastest-growing cities, along with surging disposable income of the urban populace. This rings alarm-bells for urban residents in a multitude of ways, leading to increased number of vehicles plying urban roads and declining healthiness of urban living.
Although remote sensing mechanisms exist in literature , implementation of such separate systems would require Government support . This results in soaring costs along with greater effectuating time. Hence, remote sensing is not a feasible solution to pollution control frameworks. Design of a low-cost IoT device that could be installed into the exhaust of every registered vehicle is required . The information received from the sensing apparatus must then be stored in a secure database of records . The database must be immutable, transparent and verifiable, in the absence of third-party groups that may be malicious . Finally, a financial incentive mechanism is crucial to advocate responsible behavior towards the environmental cause.
Our system seeks to target the above-mentioned issues and tasks, and tackle every possibility of evasion of pollution norms to create a just reward and penalizing mechanism. A motley of sensing equipment monitors the pollution levels in vehicular exhaust, and the data obtained is processed to check for violations. The records are then stored in an immutable ledger, and the nodes in the blockchain network are rewarded for environment-friendly practices, or penalized for violations using electronic currency. To the best of our knowledge, no other research work has developed a prototype that functions with the same efficiency and dedication to a complete Pollution Control System as opposed to trivial Pollution Sensing.
2. Major Objectives and System Design
The primary goal of the proposed project is to enable pervasive sensing applications to monitor the exhaust of every registered vehicle. To this end, appropriate sensing equipment and embedded devices are used to emulate IoT applications. Then, the secondary challenge is to design a blockchain network that processes the data obtained, checks for violations, and rewards/penalizes the vehicle owner accordingly. It is crucial to store the sensor data in a secured and traceable manner, supported by blockchain ledger technology.
Figure 1. An Overview of System Architecture
The details of the proposed system are listed as follows:
- Construct an IoT device with sensors and controllers that is small, light-weight and cost-effective. The device must be encased such that it may be planted at the exhaust of vehicles. Special care must be taken to ensure durability of device under the extreme circumstances of heat and dust exposure. The task of the device is to unobtrusively monitor air pollution metrics in vehicular exhaust.
- Design a blockchain network on Ethereum. Create tokens to reward environment friendly driving habits. These coins could be used to purchase products and services. Once violation is confirmed, coins are deducted from the registered vehicle owner’s wallet. This blockchain network forms the backbone of the incentivized solution and enables secure storage of sensor data.
- Draft a fair scheme for detection of violation and decision on amount to be deducted. The amount of coins to be deducted increases directly with duration of continued violation and is also dependent on the current scenario of the network, considering attributes such as total pollution, net pollution in the network, pollution threshold, and coefficient of trust. The deduction shall continue until the owner takes necessary measures to reduce pollution levels in emission and displays supporting proof. The updates are recorded in the ledger maintained in the blockchain network.
- Partner with organizations to allow trading of coins in exchange for products and services. This includes provision of discount codes, gift cards, coupons, among other benefits for vehicle owners that register in the network. This introduces a tangible and immediate incentive in favor of green practices among citizens.
The system functions in accordance to the following process flow diagram.
Figure 2. Blockchain Based Process flow diagram for the Connected Vehicle system
3. Achieved Benefits
The proposed system is a novel idea that seeks to enhance the health quotient of urban living by improving air quality through the integration of technology and incentive provision techniques, as follows:
- The primary challenge underlying pollution-control is raising awareness and inducing responsible behavior on the part of citizens. To this end, a surveillance system with appropriate discipline measures is expected to provide the required spur to vehicle owners, eventually leading to reduced number of violators offending pollution rules.
- The data is uploaded for checks when the distance driven exceeds 100 kilometers. With this narrow and consistent window of monitoring, the accuracy of pin-pointing cars that are posing threats of air pollution will increase manifold.
- Since the only way for citizens to stop losing tokens continually is by taking measures to reduce pollution caused by their vehicles and providing valid proof, the enforcement of pollution control measures at the individual level will be stronger.
- The transparent, immutable ledger maintained on the blockchain will also provide a one-stop easy user interface for citizens to keep a tab on their vehicles’ health.
4. Final Discussion
The striking rise in air pollution levels around the globe has gained major political attention in recent years, with governments imposing a plethora of laws to control emission counts. However, regulations that introduce impractical limitations to vehicle use have understandably failed to encourage the urban populace to support the green movement. These circumstances call for technological intervention, ubiquitous monitoring equipment, and an incentivized plan to urge the busy urban residents in reducing air pollution. The proposed system presents an ideal solution to the crippling issues of increased vehicular pollution through the employment of a portable device that continually monitors driving practices, while providing a financial motive to the citizens in joining the blockchain network. With the multitude of features and possibilities explored in the design of this project, it shall undoubtedly present a promising solution to defend our planet against the modern-day malediction of air pollution.
Acknowledgement: This work was supported by VESTELLA and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund.
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Prateeti Mukherjee is an under-graduate student majoring in Computer Science and Engineering at Institute of Engineering and Management, India. Currently, she is a Research Intern at ReSENSE Lab, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), Global campus. Her research interests include e-Healthcare, Biomedical Engineering, Blockchain Technology, IoT, Machine Learning and Computer Vision.
Dhananjay Singh (M-10, SM-14) received M. Tech. in IT with spec. in Wireless Communication and Computing from IIIT-Allahabad, India in 2006 and Ph.D. in Ubiquitous IT from Dongseo University, Busan, South Korea in 2010. He is also an Associate Professor/Director of ReSENSE Labs in the Department of Electronics Engineering and was also the head of the Division of Information Technology at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), Seoul. He is the CTO of VESTELLA and MtoV Inc, Korea. His research interest includes Internet-of-Things and Smart City, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Cloud Computing with applications. He serves as a series editor of the Blockchain Technologies in Springer Nature, and is a senior member of ACM. He has published more than 100 research papers and has authored 5 books, 15 chapters and has 10 patents to his name. He is an ACM Distinguished speaker and has delivered over 50 invited talks, while also serving as an Editor of PlosOne, MDPI-Electronics and Heliyon Journals.
Dr. Fatima Hussain is working as a Security Analyst in “API Security and Governance” squad, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto. She is leading the development and promotion of new API and API development learning curriculum along with API security and governance duties. She is also leading the RBC- Academic Research Collaboration initiative and is responsible for promoting research culture at various RBC platforms. Dr Hussain’s background includes number of distinguished professorships at Ryerson University and University of Guelph, Canada, where she has been awarded for her research teaching and course development accomplishments within Wireless Telecommunication, Internet of Things, and Machine Learning. She has a long list of research publications in top teir conferences, books and journals. She is acting as an Editor for IEEE WIE Newsletter (Toronto section).
Dr. Hussain holds Doctorate and Master of Science degrees from Ryerson University, Toronto in Electrical & Computer Engineering. She also holds a Master and Bachelors of Electrical Engineering from the University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan.