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There were days Robert wondered why he had left a full-time job as a water resources consulting engineer, particularly when he wasn’t successful in applying for a couple of entrepreneurial awards related to his hydrologic modelling research.
But now as a recent recipient of the Jain Family Award for Entrepreneurship, he is no longer questioning coming back to the University of Waterloo for his third environmental engineering degree.
For Robert, the award made possible by a gift from the Vijay Anand Foundation to encourage student entrepreneurship at Waterloo is providing financial assistance and, perhaps more important, confirmation that his research has significant potential.
“Before I received the award, I definitely had some moments of self-doubt,” he said. “Part of receiving the award was validation that I had made the right decision to pursue a PhD.”
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Dr. Chul Min Yeum, an assistant professor in the civil and engineering department at the University of Waterloo, leads a team of researchers using technologies like 5G and augmented reality to identify structural issues in bridges, buildings and other infrastructure before disaster strikes.
Thanks to the University’s Rogers 5G Partnership, Yeum's team can use data-hungry technologies like computer vision and deep learning to improve disaster mitigation tools for civil engineers.
5G cellular networks provide more bandwidth and higher speeds to send more data across the network faster. But the real value is the technology’s ability to significantly reduce the power requirements for 5G-enabled mobile and wearable devices used for field inspection.
“The major issue of using AI technologies like deep learning and computer vision in remote civil engineering is the level of trust in their accuracy. AI can be up to 99% accurate, but engineers want it to be 100%, so they end up visiting a site in person,” said Yuem.
“5G is helping us create a platform where humans and AI work together to improve structural safety through an enhanced visual inspection process."
Go to Detecting infrastructural issues in time for the full story
Waterloo Engineering’s Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship program gets students from different countries and disciplines to tackle real-world issues together.