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Intel Falcon Drones to Help Restore Great Wall of China

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The Falcon 8+ drones will be tasked with capturing aerial photographs of the Jiankou section.


Intel Falcon 8+ Professional Drone

Intel may be best known for its processors, but one other area of hardware where the company is very active is drones. In particular, the Intel Falcon 8+ drone, which is set to help restore one of the most famous stretches of the Great Wall of China.

Intel announced a partnership with the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation, which will allow for the protection and restoration of the Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China. Jiankou is the steepest section of the Great Wall and surrounded by thick vegetation. It’s also very old, having been constructed in the third century B.C. Weather has taken its toll and repairs are desperately needed due to erosion.

Through the partnership, Intel will use Falcon 8+ drones in the coming months to capture aerial photography of the walls and general structure, which will then be converted into high-definition 3D images. Artificial intelligence will be used to map out sections of the wall and plan the most efficient and safest way to restore them.

The Falcon 8+ drone was created with inspection and close mapping in mind. As you can see in the video above where the drone is used to assist firefighters after the Tubbs fire in California, the Falcon 8+ captured very high-quality images of the landscape from the air.

The drone remains stable even in high winds while it collects very precise data. It uses the AscTec Trinity Control Unit including three redundant inertial measurement units (IMUs). That means it is incredibly safe while in flight and control should never be lost, which will be very important on this section of the Great Wall. As for payload, the 8+ can carry a Sony Alpha 7R full-frame photo camera with an image resolution of 36MP. Alternatively, an Inspection Payload offers both real-color, time-stamped, and georeferenced RGB and 14-bit RAW thermal images using two cameras.

The inspection may only take a few months, but the repairs will take years I imagine. You also have to wonder how they’d go about planning such a restoration project if drones weren’t available.

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