Drones for Architectural Surveys

Intel Drones Inspect 15th Century German Cathedral and Artwork

Intel’s intelligent drone – the Intel® Falcon™ 8+  – has become part of a preservation team working on the 15th century Halberstadt Cathedral in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.  “In collaboration with experts from Bauhaus University Weimar and the foundation for the preservation of cultural monuments, Kulturstiftung Sachsen-Anhalt, Intel is powering inspections and damage assessment of the cathedral with advanced, commercial drone technology,” says Intel. “Through a series of indoor and outdoor missions on both automated and manual flight paths, the Intel® Falcon™ 8+ drone helped capture data that will inform next steps for restoration planning, ensuring the cathedral and its artwork will flourish for centuries to come.”

Using drones for architectural inspections – usually for insurance – isn’t a new idea.  But when it comes to the work required to help with a preservation project like the Halberstadt Cathedral, drones provide even more value.  The steep spires and fragile condition of the structure make detailed surveys by traditional means of scaffolding “very costly and technically difficult,” says Intel.

“The Intel® Falcon™ 8+ drone is providing the conservation team with a new cost-effective way to carry out a visual inspection of fragile, hard-to-reach structures without disturbing their surroundings.”

The Gothic style church is in delicate condition.  Stone statues nearly 20 feet above the cathedral floor are fragile and damaged – and would suffer more damage from ladders or scaffolding.  Drones offer a unique, safer and less expensive way of performing a minute examination of the statues and other artwork without risk of damaging pigments or structures.

The Falcon 8+ created 3D structural models for analysis, capturing almost 1,000 images in less than an hour of flight time.  These detailed models and inspection images are required before restoration work on the structure can begin.

“Advanced technology, like the Intel® Falcon 8+ drone, provides enormous potential for structural monitoring,” said Norman Hallermann, Bauhaus University Weimar. “Working with Intel® drone technology has allowed us to reach previously inaccessible spaces, like the cathedral’s bell towers. While we are just in the beginning stages of this three-year project, the costs saved by carrying out these inspections via a drone are already being put towards further conservation efforts.”

“In this case, the Intel® Falcon™ 8+ drone is becoming an extension of the team,” said Anil Nanduri, vice president and general manager within Intel’s New Technology Group. “Intel is excited about the future of inspections being automated and analyzed using drones. We are thrilled to be part of this project to restore this iconic piece of history and to be able to contribute with our technology.”

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