Tiny drones create new, highly detailed mapping of Matterhorn

Oct. 17, 2013 at 5:48 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The Swiss Alps' iconic Matterhorn has been has been mapped in detail never possible before by a fleet of autonomous, fixed-wing drones, researchers say.

The Matterhorn, dominating the skyline of the Swiss/Italian border at 14,692 feet, has challenged climbers since it was first scaled in 1865.

The new mapping, conducted by unmanned aerial vehicle company SenseFly and aerial photography company Pix4D, was introduced at the Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference in New York City this past weekend, NewScientist.com reported.

Three drones were launched from the peak of the Matterhorn, flying down the mountain just 100 yards from the face while capturing data points just 8 inches apart.

When they reached the bottom of the mountain a second team of researchers recovered the drones and then relaunched them for additional mapping.

"Such a combination of high altitudes, steep rocky terrain and sheer size of data set has simply not been done before with drones, we wanted to show that it was possible," SenseFly's Adam Klaptocz said.

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