Google's Street View cars help locate gas leaks in US cities

www.theverge.com Published: July 16, 2014

Google's Street View cars have a checkered history; they carry some truly incredible technology, but have also landed the company in hot water, The Verge reports. But a few of Google's cars have taken on an additional task while logging miles across the US. Instead of sniffing for Wi-Fi networks, they're sniffing for gas leaks. Three Street View cars equipped with specialized sensors capable of detecting methane were dispatched in Staten Island, Boston, and Indianapolis.



They took 15 million readings in all across those locations, which were chosen because of aging pipelines and other infrastructure issues that make leaks more likely. And the hunches proved correct; Google's cars measured one gas leak for every mile they traversed in the city of Boston, though other test spots like Indianapolis fared significantly better. Methane leaks contribute to climate warming and can even cause explosions under the right circumstances.

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