Flyability is the Swiss company with a unique and powerful solution for indoor inspections – and at London’s Commercial UAV Show this morning, CEO and co-founder Patrick Thévoz explained why indoor drone programs have a high return on investment – along with lower risks.
The Flyability Elios series is eminently recognizable. It’s a unique product designed to roll off of walls and narrow spaces – like the inside of bridge girders, mine tunnels, or around the lights and ventilating systems over a factory floor. It’s made to handle challenging conditions: those dark, dirty and dangerous places that pose real risk to human inspectors and add additional difficulties to the inspection process.
Thévoz says that there are significant adoption drivers for indoor inspections with drones. Firstly, Thévoz points out, drones can significantly reduce inspection costs in dangerous indoor environment – even if the same resource performs the inspection. “Although some of the manned costs are the same, we can remove the use of spotters outside of the structure during inspections, reducing costs,” he explains. “Most of the time the costs of scaffolding can be reduced also – while the client may still need scaffolding for repairs, it can be more centrally located, and used less often.”
Another significant factor – sometimes the most significant one – in the value for indoor industrial inspections is reduced downtime. When inspecting a boiler or stack, the system needs to be shut down to be safe for human inspectors – but it can keep running, or run longer, when inspected by drone. In those cases, says Thévoz: “The ROI is often over 100 times the cost of the drone just for one application.”
And, not having a human exposed to areas like boilers, stacks, or the insides of nuclear power facilities is an incredible benefit. “The risk factors are really in our favor,” says Thévoz.
The value proposition for indoor drones isn’t only important for specific industrial applications, but for the entire industry. Drones are able to prove their value without the regulatory burdens of flying outdoors. Finally, Thévoz points out that public perception for indoor drones is very positive: “While you many not want drones to fly around your head today due to reliability, you do want them inspecting your sewers,” he says.