Intel’s Drone and AI Technology Will Help Restore the Great Wall of China

Surveying across the length and breadth of the Great Wall to look for irregularities is an arduous task. China has partnered up with Intel to let drones do all the hard work.
Kashyap Vyas

We all know that the Great Wall of China is one among the great wonders of the world. Anyone who has seen it in a picture or in real life is bound to praise the majestic man-made wonder.

Nevertheless, being a structure that was built 2,700 years ago, it sure has taken a beating from the ever-changing weather and the passage of time, the Jiankou section in particular. The section is one of the Great Wall’s steepest stretches that runs over 20 kilometers at 1,141 meters above sea level.

Located 70 km north of central Beijing, the section is constructed on steep cliffs. The dense forest further makes it difficult for the conservation team to inspect the entire section physically and take pictures of the withered site.

The Chinese, however, are adamant on restoring the monument and their method is something entirely futuristic! The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has teamed up with Intel to employ drones to do the restoring.

These drones are remotely controlled so that the user can pilot them through twists and turns.

Intel’s Drone and AI Technology Will Help Restore the Great Wall of China
Source: Intel Corporation

The vice-president and general manager of Intel’s drone team Anil Nanduri said “Using drones, we are able to inspect multiple aspects of the structure, including areas that are quite inaccessible,” 

Intel will use its own Falcon 8+ drones and AI technology to search for damaged sections of the Great Wall. The 6-bladed drones use carbon fiber chassis and are fitted with latest tracking and imaging technologies.

Couple everything to a lightweight chassis and a powerful battery and you get a highly advanced drone that packs a punch.

One of the perks of running Intel hardware and software on the same platform is that they will be able to run the latest Intel features such as Obstacle Avoidance Technology and RealSense. The camera used in the device is used to create a 3D image of the subject that it shoots.

Hence, by going around the great structure and taking photos, the device will also recreate a 3D image of the monument. Restoration experts can then study these 3D images to study spots with severe erosion.

Intel’s Drone and AI Technology Will Help Restore the Great Wall of China
Source: Intel Corporation

“The partnership with Intel and introduction of new technology provides a new model for the country’s conservation of World Heritage Sites,” said Li Xiaojie, chairman of China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation, an organization supervised by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.


Over the coming few months, these drones will search for damaged sections of the Jiankou section, map the parts of the structure needing repairs, and capture high-definition images

Intel, on the contrary, is looking forward further extend its drone and AI technology to preserve more World Heritage Sites in future according to Nanduri.

Drones are increasingly seen as a valuable tool to reach out and inspect places where physical human presence is often difficult or at times impossible. Recently, a similar announcement was made by Norway government to employ underwater drones to clean up the Oslo Fjord as a part of their water body conservation campaign.