Propelling artificial intelligence to new heights

27 November, 2023

How a long-standing partnership is bridging academia and industry for real-world changes

A two-metre long, helicopter-style drove thunders over the Gulf of St. Lawrence, equipped with two powerful sensors that surveil the glistening surface below. As a pod of North Atlantic right whales swim just below the surface, the sensors instantly capture images of the majestic sight in precise detail.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning mean the data is immediately transferred to on-shore computers and analyzed by operators. In this case, the information will be used to detect, classify and track the right whales, which are at risk of injury from shipping traffic in the Gulf and on the east coast of Canada.

It’s just one of the many ongoing projects at TerraSense Analytics, a Kelowna-based AI company specializing in surveillance and monitoring solutions using computer vision and deep learning technology. Co-founded by UBC alum Jozsef Hamari, the company originally focused its remote sensing technology in the forestry sector to count and classify trees.

“Working in forestry led us to reach out to UBC Okanagan and its STAR initiative, which connects private sector companies with university researchers and market opportunities,” explains Hamari, President and Chief Technology Officer at TerraSense.

“We were introduced to Dr. Zheng Liu, an expert in the AI and machine learning field. As we talked, I saw the value in his approach, and we both wanted to pair that with some of the deep learning and computer vision work we were doing independently. That’s when we decided to submit a joint proposal to the IDEaS program.”

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