The Swiss company Flyability has unveiled a new version of its Elios inspection drone. For reference, the Elios is a drone enclosed in a protective cage that allows it to operate in tight spaces. Thanks to this 360-degree protection, the drone is able to continue flying despite collisions with obstacles. Elios 3 is mainly intended for industrial and emergency use where the potential of standard UAVs is not enough.
Elios key feature
This is a FlyAware tool that combines LiDAR and NVidia graphics computer to obtain SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) data. This technology creates a three-dimensional map of the flight environment, which is displayed in real time on the screen of the Cockpit flight instrument. It shows the path traveled by the drone as a point cloud model. FlyAware provides non-GPS assisted flight with centimeter-level positioning accuracy and adds automatic spurious motion compensation. This piloting assistance makes challenging missions accessible to pilots of all skill levels.
FlyAware data is supported by Flyability Inspector 4.0, which is available on a Windows PC. It allows you to view data on a 3D map, analyze points of interest in a mission, document, store and share information. FlyAware data can also be integrated into the GeoSLAM software package for topographic mapping with accurate measurements.
The Elios 3 drone has a flight weight of 2.35 kg (with battery, cameras, protective frame and LiDAR), measuring 48 cm wide and 38 cm high. It has four brushless motors working in tandem with 5″ props that are also reversible, allowing it to get out of tight situations without getting stuck. Flyability ensures that the Elios 3 is capable of self-transitioning into a flying position if it rolls over. The device has an IP44 protection class: it is protected against solid objects larger than 1 mm and against splashing water in all directions.
Battery — removable LiHV 6S 4350 mAh. Operating time without payload from one battery is about 12 minutes. The payload bay has two ports. One is for LiDAR and the other is for an auxiliary payload that extends the functionality of the Elios 3. LiDAR is an Ouster OS0-32 capable of measuring in difficult environments such as dust and splashing water, with a working distance of up to 50 meters (in optimal conditions ).
In addition to LiDAR, the Elios 3 also features a 4K/30fps camera with a 180° field of view capable of capturing images at a resolution of 4000×3000 pixels. It is supported by LEDs with a total brightness of 16,000 lumens with various tilt angles to optimize illumination in dusty environments. In addition, there is a FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal imaging camera that shoots in 160 × 120 at 9 frames per second. The camera is also equipped with a rangefinder.
360 degree protection and crash resistance
It was this tool that brought Flyability to the fore in 2015 when the caged Gimball drone won the Drone for good competition in Dubai. The cage is made of carbon fiber with a flexible cover, modular sub-components for ease of maintenance, and thermoplastic elastomer hangers. The bottom opening provides easy access to the battery, the front opening provides easy access to the payload.
The Elios 3 is piloted using a radio control system running an Android tablet and Cockpit software. It operates in the 2.4 GHz band and has a straight line range of 500 meters. It can be supplemented with a second radio control to control the camera independently from the pilot.
Flyability has pioneered drones for confined space inspection by creating a new technology that allows inspectors to collect data remotely in dangerous confined spaces rather than in person. Since launching in 2014, Flyability has become a trusted provider of in-house inspection solutions, providing remote data collection through advanced hardware and software to inspection professionals to help them improve safety, reduce downtime, and reduce the cost of in-house inspections.
Today, Flyability has offices in Switzerland, China, Singapore and the US, and nearly a thousand customers in over 60 countries. Flyability works in every industry that requires internal inspections, including energy, oil and gas, mining, wastewater infrastructure, chemicals, maritime, infrastructure and utilities. The official Elios 3 page can be found here, the Flyability contact form can be found here.
Images provided by the developer.