There is no dearth of the data organizations collect on a daily basis in almost every industry these days. According to studies, 99% of this data is never analyzed or put to use. It’s a waste. Dr. Ruwen Qin, a researcher at Missouri University of Science and Technology, wants to change that.
Qin is enabling engineering managers in a variety of industries to collect data and use it to design and improve complex systems. From its use in augmented reality to protecting employees in dangerous conditions, big data can help industries improve, she says.
Predictive analytics – the use of data to forecast the future trends of events – helps researchers like Qin determine a system’s output in concise mathematical language. Then, they can build on that understanding by employing prescriptive analytics – a decision-making process – to determine the best system design or the optimal way of operating the system.
One example of Qin’s work involves inspecting and preserving roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. For state departments of transportation, manual infrastructure inspections are one of their most time-consuming and costly operations because they require heavy lifting equipment and closures of roads and bridges during inspections.
A Missouri S&T team is being led by Qin; it is using remote-controlled robotics to inspect bridges and highways. Robotic unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are gathering data about the conditions of the structures.