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China to use AI and drones to protect Great Wall

Updated: Apr 26,2018 7:07 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) and unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to inspect, repair and preserve the Great Wall.

The China Foundation For Cultural Heritage Conservation has signed an agreement with Intel on April 25, to explore the use of AI and the company’s drones in the protection of the Great Wall.

The Great Wall, a symbol of China, is actually not just one wall, but many interconnected walls built between the third century BC and the Ming Dynasty (1384-1644).

It faces threats from both nature and humans that make restoration difficult.

Most sections of the Great Wall were built on steep hills, surrounded with grass and weeds, which makes access for restoration very difficult.

Researchers can use drones to collect images of the walls, and use 3D modeling to find broken sections and missing bricks.

“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.