Sergiy Barchuk for TIME
November 10, 2022 6:02 AM EST

This autonomous flying laser scanner can capture detailed dimensions of structures, buildings, and other hard-to-reach (or dangerous) areas. It’s not a drone, because you don’t have to pilot it. Instead, the device uses radar sensors, cameras, and GPS—all packed into a compact carbon and glass fiber frame—to create what Leica Geosystems calls “3D digital twins,” while navigating around any obstacles such as trees and wires. “It takes less than 10 minutes to create a model of a New York City high-rise,” says Burkhard Boeckem, chief technology officer of Hexagon, which owns Leica Geosystems. But it’s for more than just the world of architecture, engineering, and construction: BLK2FLY, which went on sale in April, has been used to monitor structural safety across 160 acres of Italy’s Archaeological Park of Pompeii.

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