Engineering PhD alumnus Dr Bella Nguyen and Dr Ioannis Brilakis, Laing O'Rourke Reader in Construction Engineering, have been presented with the 2018 John O. Bickel Award.
Bridge strikes are a problem faced by asset owners worldwide, and I receive emails from bridge owners on a weekly basis asking whether the system is available for purchase. I hope to explore commercial options.Dr Bella Nguyen
Dr Nguyen is the lead author of an award-winning paper titled ‘Optimized Parameters for Over-Height Vehicle Detection under Variable Weather Conditions’, which was co-authored with her PhD supervisor Dr Brilakis. Her paper was selected to receive the John O. Bickel Award by the Construction Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Dr Nguyen delivered a keynote presentation on her role in the development of the autonomous vision-based bridge and tunnel strike prevention system at the Construction Research Congress in New Orleans, where the Award was presented.
Using computer vision technology, the autonomous vehicle detection system is able to detect – in advance – whether approaching vehicles are at risk of hitting a bridge. The results were the subject of a recent study for Transport for London (TfL), published in the Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering.
Dr Nguyen said: “I’m extremely honoured to win this award. For me, the important aspect is for the research to gain traction and the award certainly helps to highlight my work.
“Bridge strikes are a problem faced by asset owners worldwide, and I receive emails from bridge owners on a weekly basis asking whether the system is available for purchase. I hope to explore commercial options as there is a clear need to turn this research into a product for end-users.”
Dr Brilakis added: “This is what engineering is about; starting from a real problem that industry brings to us, and finding a clever and simultaneously practical solution that can be deployed widely and effectively.”
Dr Nguyen joined Arup as a Senior Research Consultant in the Foresight, Research and Innovation Team in September 2017. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in the Laing O'Rourke Centre for Construction and Engineering Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Intelligent Vision and Automation Lab (as a visiting scholar).
This article has been edited from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) website.