Google has built a data gathering vehicle for its Maps Street View app out of a Jaguar I-Pace. It's billed as the first electric Street View car and is currently on the prowl and mapping the city of Dublin, Ireland.
The one-off vehicle will not only photograph the roads of Ireland's capital, but measure street-to-street air cleanliness and greenhouse gases as well. It's equipped with air quality sensors by Aclima that measure carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, particulate matter and black carbon — all compounds that contribute to climate change when present in excess amounts.
The partnership with Aclima is nothing new. Google has been equipping its more common Subaru Impreza Street View cars with the sensors since 2015. However, the Jaguar I-Pace will not contribute any emissions as it goes about its mission. The all-wheel-drive electric crossover can drive up to 246 miles (after a late 2019 software update) before a charge, and we'd wager Google won't be executing too many of Jaguar's claimed 4.5-second 0-60 sprints to cut down on that figure. Most of the Jag's 394 maximum horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque will probably go unused.
So why the I-Pace? Though the company has not said, Google's autonomous vehicle spinoff, Waymo, has used Jaguars in self-driving car research. However, Waymo was split off from the Mountain View mothership in 2016, so perhaps it's just a coincidence.
For its part, Jaguar Land Rover has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2039. "We are delighted to support this project as it aligns with our own journey to becoming an electric-first business and achieving net zero carbon by 2039. Partnerships like this are one of the ways we can achieve our sustainability goals and make a positive impact on society," said Elena Allen, Project Manager for Business Development at JLR.
Google and Aclima have collected over 100 million air quality data points since the project, called Google Project Air View, launched six years ago. Last year, Google made this data freely available to the scientific community.