Street View car

Street View cars are primarily used for collecting panoramic imagery of major cities and tourist attractions around the world, but that's not the only task they're mandated with. Google has outfitted a few Street View cars with methane sensors that enable the cars to check for natural gas leaks in the surrounding areas.

Google Earth Outreach teamed up with the Environmental Defense Fund back in July to launch a test pilot of three Street View cars outfitted with methane detectors, and sent the vehicles to Boston, Staten Island, and Indianapolis. The results of the month long survey are in, and as you can discern from the images below, they highlight the fact that older gas lines, like the ones in Boston, are more prone to leakage. While none of the gas leaks pose any immediate threat, the EDF and Google are working with regulators in monitoring and prioritizing repairs.



Staten Island

Staten Island



Google will be launching more methane sniffing Street View vehicles in other cities over the coming months. What do you guys think of the initiative? What other sensors would you like to see on Street View cars?

Source: EDF; Via: Engadget


Reader comments

Google equips Street View cars with methane sensors to detect gas leaks


That's actually not bad at all!

Hope there won't be gasleaks for the people, but hope for Google that a car will sniff some leaks real soon.


I'm sure every genius with a computer keyboard and a gmail account has a great idea for google. Maybe it wasn't google's idea, but they still chose it to say yes to.. so credit to google for helping out. They didn't have to.

Google is basically Android anyway and who cares if you dont like what they report go to another site. Someone always has the complain about something SMH

Posted Via AT&T Galaxy Note 3

Wouldn't this also show sewer gas leaks? Perhaps a potent gaseous emission from a local resident or visiting tourist? How gas inducing is the food around Boston? I need someone to dig deeper on this story!

Bent politicians! Stick a corrupt sensor on Google cars and have em sniff the back handers out!

Posted via the Android Central App

What happens if the car travels past a very large dairy farm or cow pasture?

From the DeathStar using my rooted LG G2

Cable companies also have to drive their systems regularly for RF leaks. Google should stick an antenna on their truck and contract their services to the cable guys. Typically, the automated systems just pin a leakage signal power with a GPS location, then the cable dogs go find it, and fix it. Regular leakage sweeps and repair logs are FCC mandated.

I don't think that they will be effective except in rare circumstances. We had a natural gas leak located three feet from the curb at our home. It was there for eleven years, from the time the subdivision was built. We smelled an odd odor when gardening in the location. Called the gas company and they came out to check. Initially the sensor couldn't sense any gas. It wasn't until the service person poked a small hole in the ground about 3 inches deep did the probe sensor actually work and the alarm went off.

Shouldn't the vehicles used by the gas company meter readers have these sensors? It would make a lot more sense than Google doing it.