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Intel Drones are Helping Preserve the Great Wall of China

Preserving the Great Wall of China | Intel/Youtube

Conservation

Intel Drones are Helping Preserve the Great Wall of China

Intel Drones are Helping Preserve the Great Wall of China

In a recent example of Drone technology being used effectively to help restore and maintain ancient monuments, Intel and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation have created a partnership to protect and restore the Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall is world renowned architectural marvel built in the third century B.C. around the Ming dynasty era, spans 15 provinces and 404 counties, and is more than 20,000 kilometers in length. The Jiankou section of the Great Wall is among its most famous stretches, as well as its steepest. Nestled in dense vegetation, the section of the wall has naturally weathered and requires repair. Intel’s AI and Falcon 8+ drone technologies will be used to remotely inspect and map the Jiankou section, which has been difficult for repair teams to reach.

“Using drones, we are able to inspect multiple aspects of the structure including areas that are quite inaccessible. We continue to be excited about the future of inspections being automated all the way from drone data capture to data processing, analysis and insights. We look forward to leveraging our technology to aid in the preservation of more world heritage sites in the future.” – Anil Nanduri, vice president and general manager, Intel’s drone team

“As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall has been exposed to weather erosion for thousands of years,” says Li Xiaojie, China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation chairman. “Some parts are on steep inclines, which pose a great challenge for daily maintenance. Our partnership with Intel has opened new avenues for preservation.”

Representatives of Intel Corporation and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation signed an agreement the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall on April 25, 2018 to announce a partnership to protect and restore the Great Wall of China.

Representatives of Intel Corporation and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation hold a signing ceremony at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, to announce a partnership to protect and restore the Great Wall of China. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Representatives of Intel Corporation and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation hold a signing ceremony at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, to announce a partnership to protect and restore the Great Wall of China | Intel

While portions of the wall most popular with tourists have been preserved and renovated earlier, the Great Wall’s 12-mile Jiankou section is one of the steepest and most dangerous to access.

Intel UAVs are capable of shooting the Great Wall at close range to detect damage and enable 3D reconstruction, capturing thousands of pictures. First a 3D reconstruction of the Wall will be performed. Using AI and a data-driven damage detection the damage will be assessed and the material required for this restoration project will be decided. Thus the repair team avoids on-site measurement risks, reduces labour and costs and saves time. Hou Ke who works for the China Foundation of Cultural Heritage Conservation says, “The first time I climbed the Great Wall, it gave me a feeling of responsibility. I want the younger generation to experience the Great Wall like I do.” Another team member Wang Jianshun is a student from Wuhan University.  “This is my first time going to the Great Wall. My specialty is 3D modeling. I feel that the younger generation, like me, should probably pay more attention to the Great Wall.”

Their team hopes to protect historical standards through this new Intel drone technology.

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