Dark, Dirty and Dangerous: Flyability’s Collision-Tolerant Drone Has Upped the Game for Commercial Applications

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It’s been a mantra for the commercial drone industry since they got started – if you’ve got a job that is dark, dirty or dangerous, use a drone.  Swiss-based Flyability designs collision-tolerant drones that can perform visual inspections where even other drones can’t fly- into inaccessible spaces like mines, nuclear power tanks, bridge trusses, and into the hulls of ships.  The iconic drone-in-a-cage is designed to roll off of the sides of confined spaces – and stay steady enough to provide valuable data.

At this week’s AUVSI Xponential show in Chicago, Flyability announced their newest design, the Elios 2 – and their customers can’t wait to get their hands on it.

Last night, Flyability launched the Elios with a party at Chicago’s Motor Row Brewery – and gave the attendees the opportunity to experience the Elios flying over the tanks in a simulation of an indoor inspection.  While the Elios isn’t a drone that you are going to see flying at your next vacation spot, it is a game changer in industrial inspection.  Designed to be collision-tolerant, Elios 1 was the first of its kind to be able to fly in cramped interiors.  Elios 2 takes features to the next level, as customers at last night’s event explain.

Flyability co-founder Patrick Thévoz called it a “pivotal moment” in the company’s development.  “Flyability was founded in 2014 with the strong belief that robots instead of humans should be sent into hazardous places and dangerous situations,” says Thévoz.  Now, he says, that’s becoming a reality.  “Robotics will become the standard method to inspect monitor, and explore confined spaces,” says Thévoz – and with over 500 of their collision tolerant drones at work, they’re a big part of that progress.

Despite being part of hundreds of fascinating stories – performing the deepest drone flights ever in mines in Canada, flying under glaciers in Europe, inspecting the insides of nuclear power plants, and more – Thévoz says there is far more that collision-tolerant drones can do: “We’re still talking to early adopters – there is still so much more.”

To scale the use of drones in indoor inspection, Flyability used customer feedback to create the Elios 2.  It’s a drone that is easy and intuitive to fly, so that inspectors and industry experts can utilize it.  It provides a new level of clarity in images, providing inspectors with the same visual information that they would receive if they were examining a surface from arm’s length.  And it includes a thermal camera and new data processing tools to allow for 3D modelling and more.

Elios customers at the event have pre-ordered the drone, preparing to scale their operations – and that’s good for the entire industry.

The following is a Flyability press release.

Chicago, IL – AUVSI XPONENTIAL – April 29, 2019 – Flyability, the pioneer and market leader of indoor inspection and exploration drones, announced the launch of Elios 2, a new generation of confined space inspection UAVs that takes indoor inspection to the next level.

“At the heart of Flyability products lies collision-tolerance. It is the true enabler to gathering data in the intricate and hostile places where our customers are searching for insights,” said Patrick Thévoz, CEO of Flyability. Perpetuating this uniqueness, Elios 2 features intuitive flight operation and unsurpassed data collection capabilities to safely and easily inspect dangerous and confined spaces while delivering the actionable data needed to make critical maintenance and certification decisions.

Since the launch of its first Elios platform in 2016, Flyability has quickly become the industry leader in remote aerial inspection of confined spaces. “To date, more than 550 Elios drones have been deployed at over 350 sites to inspect critical infrastructure for industries as diverse as power generation, mining,oil and gas, and chemical, even operating in radioactive areas of nuclear plants,” Thévoz said. “While Flyability’s expertise is in drone technologies, we are really in the business of keeping people safe and reducing asset downtime.”

Building upon years of customer feedback, Flyability has learned the importance of building tools that can be used by anyone, that provide unquestionable data quality, and that can replicate techniques used by seasoned inspectors in the field. “In developing Elios 2 we asked our users to challenge us. With their critical feedback, we went back to the drawing board to design, from the ground up, the ultimate indoor inspection drone they had dreamt about,” said Dr. Adrien Briod, Co-founder & CTO of Flyability. “The result is an intuitive-to-fly drone fitted with an unobstructed 4K camera that can hover in place to spot sub-millimeter cracks. It performs reliably in GPS denied environment, in dark, dusty and troubled airflows, beyond line of sight, and particularly in places that no other drone can access.”

Ease of use and intelligent flight capabilities

Flyability has reinvented collision-tolerance transforming a formerly passive mechanical protection design into active intelligence built into the flight controller and motors of the Elios 2. Complemented by 7 vision stability sensors pointing in all directions to provide GPS-free stabilization, Elios 2 makes airborne indoor inspection accessible to everyone.

“Here is a drone you can hand to somebody who’s never used it and they’ll be successful with it”, said Ryan Turner, Geotechnical Engineer at the Barrick Golden Sunlight Mine.

Unrivaled close-up data quality for actionable insights

With its 4K camera optimized for rendering images with a resolution of 0.18 mm/px at 30 cm, Elios 2 provides the level of details professional inspectors would get by standing at an arm’s length of objects of scrutiny. The Elios 2 also features the most powerful and intelligent lighting system ever built on a commercial drone. It produces 10K Lumen of light for increased situational awareness in large spaces. The Indirect, dustproof lighting configuration allows traversing dirty places without losing sight of the objective. Finally, detecting pitting and cracks has never been easier; Elios 2 features an oblique lighting mode to reveal the texture of surfaces by creating shadows in all asperities. Coming together, these features turn the Elios 2 into an inspection tool fit to carry on regulated inspections.

“If you wonder whether the Elios 2 can be used for an official API510 pressure vessel inspection witnessed by a third-party inspection entity, the answer is yes,” said Steven Verver, Founder of Ronik Inspectioneering.

And much more

Truly revolutionizing aerial indoor inspection, the Elios 2 brings to market many other features including a thermal camera, shockproof payload, full HD live video feedback, distance lock, 2D measurements, 3D modeling, a modular design for easy maintenance, and a completely redesigned software suite that streamlines data management for planning to reporting. To learn more about the Elios 2 visit flyability.com/elios-2


Flyability is currently accepting orders for the new Elios 2, and interested customers can contact the company directly to learn more about the new Elios 2 platform.

About Flyability

Flyability is a Swiss company building solutions for the inspection and exploration of indoor, inaccessible, and confined spaces. By allowing drones to be used safely inside buildings, it enables industrial companies and inspection professionals to reduce downtime, inspection costs, and risks to workers. With hundreds of customers in over 50 countries in Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Maritime, Infrastructures & Utilities, and Public Safety, Flyability has pioneered and continues to lead the innovation in the commercial indoor drone space.

More information on www.flyability.com/ @fly_ability



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