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Using Drones to Help Preserve the Great Wall of China

16 July 2018
The Falcon 8+ drone is being used to survey and inspect a dangerous portion of the Great Wall. Source: Intel

Intel Corp. is working with the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation (CFCHC) in order to help protect and preserve the Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China.

Intel is using its Falcon 8+ drone to carry out aerial inspections and surveys of the Jiankou section, capturing tens of thousands of high-resolution images of areas proven too difficult or dangerous for humans to access.

These images are processed into a 3D model that provides preservationists with a digital replica of the current state of the wall. Traditionally, these surveys are done through a manual process using a tape measure or visual inspection by people over a month-long period. Intel’s technology can allow the same inspections to be completed in a matter of three days while producing more accurate data that helps develop an informed and effective repair schedule, Intel said.

Teams using artificial intelligence help analyze the types of repairs needed and calculate the time, labor and cost of materials for repair. Engineers from Wuhan University will provide support with implementing new technologies.

The Jiankou section of the Great Wall dates back to the Ming dynasty and is more than 450 years old, but has been affected by natural erosion and human destruction. The 12-mile section is among the steepest and most dangerous areas to access for repairs and survey, leading to the section not being preserved until now, Intel said.

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