BC students use AI to solve maintenance-related challenges at YVR

The BCIT Centre for Internet of Things collaborated with the YVR Innovation Hub in hosting the first annual YVR Smart Airport Hackathon. Three BCIT teams comprised of students from the School of Computing and Academic Studies and the School of Business + Media successfully won first, second, and third places after presenting their innovative solutions to a panel of judges, representing both industry and academia.

In an era of digital transformation, eight teams with more than 50 students from BCIT, UBC and SFU, were tasked with utilizing technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), in solving YVR’s maintenance-related challenges at the airport. Each competing team chose from one of the three problems to solve. This year’s challenges included:

  • Automating facility standards at the YVR airport
  • Making an efficient and healthy building
  • Managing the airport’s hygiene and cleanliness

The first-place winning team received a $5,000 cash prize, $3,000 for second place, and third and fourth places received $1,000 each.

“The YVR Smart Airport Hackathon amplifies the applied learning model at BCIT,” said Johny Bassan, Director, Internet of Things, BCIT. “Students gain valuable experience by solving real-world problems, while industry benefit from the fresh perspective that students bring.”

YVR’s Innovation Hub decided to host this event in hopes to solve some of the problems they presented, as well as give students an opportunity to network with industry members from YVR, Ainsworth, Schneider Electric, and Innovate BC.

“We have lots of big problems that we need to strategically solve,” said Linda Schucroft, Director of Innovation, YVR. “Working with students and the YVR team adds a fresh and innovative perspective to allow problems to be solved more efficiently.”

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Artificial intelligence (AI): A common thread across the hackathon

As seen with ChatGPT, AI is changing the way we live and work. This was made all the more evident when all participating teams integrated some form of AI to solve the problem that they chose. BCIT Computer System Technology diploma students April Cheng, Matthew Puyat, Gareth Ng, Belal Kourkmas, Steven Chow, Chun Hang Pang, Edmond Chen, and Vivian Chu won first place. The winning team decided to focus on how to make YVR cleaner and more hygienic. The team presented an idea called The Crows Nest. This is a camera system that is attached to the top of the airport’s ceiling and has a bird eye view of whatever is happening on the ground.

“It will detect whether there’s a spill happening or a medical emergency that needs attention. Once it detects an incident, it will help the airport notify and implement relevant parties to attend the situation,” explained Matthew Puyat, Computer Systems Technology student.

Matthew credits BCIT for equipping him with the relevant skills to effectively solve the YVR hackathon challenge.

The BCIT teams that finished second and third decided to tackle the same problem. Their solution was using AI to detect problem areas of the airport as well.

BCIT Bachelor of Technology in Computer Systems (CST BTech) students Spencer Loren, Benjamin Jones, Hardavinder Dhaliwal, Daniel Chu, Ian Snider, and Warisha Bilal won second place.

The third place went to team members Leah Shin, Arra Faith Estur, Heejin An, Priscilla Lo, Sun (Wonseon) Kim, and Ernesto Sanchez who were all from the BCIT Business Information Technology Management -Artificial Intelligence Management Option program. Their proposed solution was to automate the monitoring and adjustment of building safety standards.

Congratulations to all students who participated in the first annual YVR Smart Airport Hackathon. Additional photos from the hackathon available online.

SEE MORE: BCIT students develop an artificial intelligence model for YVR

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