Metro AI air system may reduce Covid-19 risk

8 July 2020

Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (Barcelona metro) is about to implement a pilot smart ventilation control system designed to improve environmental quality, hygiene and passenger comfort. This follows a previous scheme undertaken on Line 1 to demonstrate the importance of dynamic ventilation control which was successful in lowering ambient temperatures.

Developed in conjunction with Sener Engineering, the Respira artificial intelligence platform aims to maximise fresh air intake – which is thought to increase hygiene and reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. The system is claimed to “lower the heat index of passengers and metro workers by defining various criteria, as well as reading parameters in real time, such as temperature, humidity and indoor air quality in stations”. A dynamic algorithm then uses the data to predict environmental conditions to control 187 station fans and 142 tunnel fans, aiming to improve the heat index while minimising electricity consumption. The system will be tested in July on lines 1-5 (which carry 94% of all metro passengers) using temperature and humidity sensors currently being installed on the network.