Umair Iqbal has arrived at SMART after scouring the world for the best place to study for his doctorate in domain of computer vision for disaster relief and recovery.

A graduate of the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad, Iqbal was looking for a place that combined expertise in computer vision and disaster management/recovery.

“That’s a rare combination to find,” he said.

“Disaster relief and surveying is usually a part of environmental sciences where machine learning is usually part of an engineering faculty.”

Under the supervision of Senior Professor Pascal Perez, Iqbal will be looking at ways of using images and video captured by drones flying over disaster struck areas, and extracting relevant information that maps the extent of damage to buildings (structural damage) and the likelihood of victims in specific areas.

His aim is to develop a machine learning and computer vision based solution which serve as a tool to disaster management agencies in utilizing their resources wisely during the disaster situations.

His PhD will build on engineering based solutions for disaster relief and recovery, which is the continuation of his MS research where he worked on the development of a fully equipped unmanned disaster relief helicopter.

Iqbal arrived at SMART in February, 2018 and will study for his doctorate for the next three and half to four years.