Bluesky University of Leicester SPRINT Project Brings AI to Insurance Sector
Leicestershire, UK, 23 April 2020 - Aerial mapping company Bluesky International is partnering with the University of Leicester to develop a new portfolio of geospatial data products for the UK insurance sector. Using machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, combined with satellite imagery and aerial survey data, it is hoped the SPRINT (Space Research & Innovation Network for Technology) funded project will improve the analysis of key urban environmental data to automatically recognise building classifications and structure detail.
“We were keen to explore the potential of AI and machine learning for the automatic identification and classification of data for use within the insurance sector,” commented James Eddy, Technical Director of Bluesky International. “So, having strong ties with the academic community having worked alongside university and higher education organisations on other projects, we approached the University of Leicester.
“Directed to the School of Mathematics and Actuarial Science, we were introduced to SPRINT. The space-based aspect means we can use mathematical methods to look at data in different forms, and, by the end of this project, we hope to develop a technique to extract data and produce it commercially for a range of sectors.”
Ivan Tyukin, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leicester added, “Satellite data is an extremely valuable resources, and the volume of this data grows very fast. It is hence important to develop methods enabling organisations to utilise this wealth of resources in the most efficient and reliable way. In our project we will employ state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to extract information from available satellite datasets and fuse this extracted information with Bluesky’s own proprietary data to increase Bluesky’s data analysis capabilities.”
Bluesky is an established provider of geospatial data including nationwide coverage of high resolution aerial photography and 3D height models. Working alongside academics from the mathematics department it is hoped this project will leverage the University of Leicester’s deep expertise in object classification systems, as applied to satellite remotely sensed data. Aerial imagery, from visible and infra-red sensors, can then be used, in isolation and combination, to deliver a robust, high confidence intelligence service.
The Bluesky University of Leicester project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT programme. SPRINT provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities, helping business with the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
Bluesky International is the leading aerial survey and geographic data company in the UK producing and maintaining seamless digital aerial photography and height data on a national scale in both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Bluesky also undertakes bespoke surveys, including LiDAR, for a range of public and private sector clients.
Bluesky International operates a range of aircraft and sensors including two Ultracam Eagle Mark 3s, a CityMapper which allows the simultaneous collection of vertical and oblique imagery as well as LiDAR data, and a Galaxy LiDAR which is mounted with a thermal sensor and survey grade camera. These systems put Bluesky International in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost-effective geospatial solutions.
As well as being an established and respected aerial survey company Bluesky International is also highly innovative and continually strives to develop new products and services by embracing new technology and methods. This has resulted in the development of some unique products such as the National Tree Map (NTM).
These datasets underpin long term contracts with local and central governments and many major blue-chip companies from a range of market sectors including financial services, utilities, telecoms, web portals, construction and environment. Bluesky International has offices in the UK, US, Republic of Ireland and a dedicated production centre in India.
SPRINT (Space Research & Innovation Network for Technology) is supported by Research England and the Scottish Funding Council. It is being delivered by a consortium of five of the UK’s leading space universities; led by the University of Leicester and including the University of Edinburgh, The Open University, University of South and University of Surrey. A Connecting Capability Fund, SPRINT enables SMEs to access the Higher Education Knowledge base and resources. https://www.sprint.ac.uk/
The University of Leicester is led by discovery and innovation – an international centre for excellence renowned for research, teaching and broadening access to higher education. It is among the top 25 universities in the Times Higher Education REF Research Power rankings with 75% of research adjudged to be internationally excellent with wide-ranging impacts on society, health, culture, and the environment. The University is home to just over 20,000 students and approximately 3,000 staff. https://le.ac.uk/about