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China to use AI and drones in the conservation of the Great Wall

China to use AI and drones in the conservation of the Great Wall

According to Xinhua, China
plans to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) and unmanned aerial vehicles to
inspect, repair and preserve the Great Wall.

The recent report by Xinhua stated that the China Foundation
for Cultural Heritage Conservation has signed the Strategic
Cooperation Agreement
with Intel to explore the use of AI and drones
in the protection of the Great Wall.

Credit: Intel

The Great Wall, built between the third century BC and the
Ming Dynasty (1384-1644), faces threats from both natural degradation and human
activities that impose challenges on conservation. On top of that, most
sections of the Great Wall, such as the Jiankou section Great Wall, were built
on steep hills. This makes access for restoration very difficult.

Credit: Sindarus/ CC BY-SA 4.0

Under this new collaboration, researchers will use Intel’s FalconTM 8+ drones to inspect the Great Wall and collect high-resolution images, especially for sections of the Great Wall that are difficult to reach. 

The
high-resolution images will then be used by 3D modelling. Based on the images captured by the drone, the
images will be then processed and analysed by the Xeon Extensible Processor
to identify cracks and other damages on the Wall that needs to be repaired.

“The
use of the latest technologies, will provide a new perspective of the
protection of the Great Wall, and show us the great potential of science and
technology in cultural heritage protection,” said Li Xiaojie, Director of the
China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Mr Li also highlighted that the
conservation of cultural heritage requires extensive participation of businesses,
the public and social organisations.

This project to use AI and drones to inspect and
repair the Great Wall will last for one year. Upon its completion, the two sides
will explore possibilities to apply the technology to restore other sections of
the Great Wall.

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