Remote Sensing Antwerp

In this assignment, we will collect at least 150,000 validated emission measurements with measuring devices installed at the side of the road for eight weeks. During this campaign, road inspections are also carried out in cooperation with the police and the Agency for Roads and Traffic. In doing so, with the help of the remote sensing setups, trucks causing excessive emissions due to defects or fraud mechanisms in the exhaust technology are pulled over by the police for inspection and enforcement.

Incidents such as dieselgate have shown that emission standards are often not in line with actual vehicle emissions. This rightly raises questions about the effectiveness of emission standards and measures such as low-emission zones. However, the steps that have since been taken to bring actual emissions into line with the standard emissions suggest that this problem is on its way out. Another problem that arises though, even with more correct monitoring of the standards, is that vehicles are driving around with defective or even deliberately switched off emission-limiting technology. This mainly concerns the incorrect use of AdBlue (NOx reduction, especially in heavy trucks) and particulate filters (PM reduction, especially in passenger cars), mainly with the intention of saving the user money. Poor or non-functioning technology can lead to standards being exceeded by orders of magnitude, with a consequent impact on urban air quality.

The vehicle inspection centres in Flanders are currently not equipped to detect such emission problems. One technology that can help is Remote Sensing (RS). This is a remote measurement of the composition of the emissions plume while the vehicle is in motion, using specialised equipment. This makes it possible to detect and measure the various components (pollutants) of the emissions, and thus to determine whether certain substances are being insufficiently processed. Remote Sensing measurement equipment is very flexible in use and also shows results immediately, making it an ideal tool for the enforcement of emission standards.

For a period of eight weeks, the equipment will be deployed at various locations in order to collect as much data as possible and to identify any infringements. During a limited number of days, roadside checks will be carried out in cooperation with the police for those vehicles that showed elevated emission values.

TML is working with technology partner OPUS to set up the measurement and enforcement campaign and is analysing the data collected with a second partner (ICCT), which has carried out similar projects abroad.

The final report is due in autumn 2021.





Our team

Sebastiaan Boschmans, Filip Vanhove
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