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Mollie Bianchi (UTIAS MASc candidate) is among five U of T Engineering graduate students awarded Vector Institute Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence. (Photo courtesy of Mollie Bianchi)

Five U of T Engineering master’s students were recently awarded Vector Institute Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence (VSAI). They are among 78 recipients from 11 Ontario universities conducting research in AI-related fields.

This is the second round of scholarships announced by the Vector Institute, which aims to bolster Ontario’s AI ecosystem by advancing research and increasing graduates researching AI, machine learning and deep learning. Nine U of T Engineering students were honoured in the previous round.

The newest U of T Engineering Vector scholars are:

  • Mollie Bianchi (UTIAS)
  • Abhinav Grover (UTIAS)
  • Frances Pogacar (MIE)
  • Andrea Sabo (IBBME)
  • Hojin Yang (MIE)

Bianchi, who graduates from Engineering Science in June, will be pursuing her master’s degree under the supervision of Professor Tim Barfoot (UTIAS), a world leader in autonomous robotics.  Her research will focus on developing vision-based navigation for mobile robots in unstructured environments.

Ultimately, Bianchi’s work will increase the AI capabilities of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles — UAVs, also known as drones — by enhancing the accuracy of localization and navigation algorithms, even after a communications or GPS failure.

“This scholarship allows me to focus on my research, course work and extracurriculars. It helps to relieve some of the stress that accompanies continuing my education,” says Bianchi, who is also a member of the aUToronto team that is currently in the top spot of the AutoDrive Challenge™, a three-year international self-driving car competition.

This year’s recipients adds to a thriving list of AI research activity and educational programming at U of T Engineering. Most recently, the Faculty launched the Centre for Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Engineering (CARTE), which will drive research collaboration between faculty, graduate students and industry partners.

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