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Surprising Science

Drones Create A Detailed 3D Model Of The Matterhorn

Together, the fleet of drones spent all of six hours taking over 2,000 high-resolution photos, which were then assembled into a 300-million-point 3D model.

What’s the Latest Development?

At last weekend’s Drone and Aerial Robots Conference in New York, attendees got to see a detailed 3D model of the Matterhorn that was created using drones and high-resolution imaging. The drones, each of which weighed about a kilogram, were launched from both a base camp situated 3,000 meters above sea level and from the mountain’s 4,478-meter-high summit. During their six-hour autonomous flight, they took over 2,000 photos, which were then assembled into the 300-million-point model. The companies responsible for the model, senseFly and Pix4D, are department spinoffs of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

What’s the Big Idea?

The Matterhorn is one of the tallest mountains in the Alps and is fairly difficult to ascend for all but experienced climbers. The relative ease with which the drones were able to complete their mission despite the high altitude and air turbulence demonstrates “what our devices are capable of achieving in the extreme conditions,” says senseFly CEO Jean-Christophe Zufferey. It also presents the possibility of similar drone squads mapping even larger areas quickly and with great detail.

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Read it at Wired UK


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