In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, one of the largest nuclear disasters in history, the founders of Flyability found their inspiration to create a flying robot that could go into dangerous, confined spaces to collect data. That led to the creation of the Elios 1 drone, which they have continued to develop based on feedback from their users. The latest result of that development effort is the Elios 3, launched in May, 2022.
The new drone is on display in Las Vegas this week at Commercial UAV Expo 2022 at booth 701. Flyability's Senior Communications Manager Zacc Dukowitz was kind enough to spend a few minutes with Commercial UAV News to talk about the Elios 3 and what the new product has to offer.
The Elios 3 is specially made for indoor inspections in confined spaces, allowing for 3D mapping of areas in which it is either impossible, or at least very difficult, for a human to reach safely.
Dukowitz called out mining as one of the key industries that has embraced the Elios line, though they are far from the only ones. The key innovation for this newest addition - on top of the collision-resistance for which all of the Elios have been known - is the lidar sensors, as opposed to the thermal sensing of the previous Elios model. Users can also receive real-time visuals of the data being captured by the sensors to get a full picture of what the drone is seeing.
Dukowitz mentioned how key that real-time data can be for an inspection project, allowing the inspector to know that all of the relevant areas have been covered by the drone before the mission is complete, an important time-saver in the process.
One particularly interesting use case in which these new lidar sensors make all the difference for these inspections can be found within mining, but also for inspecting things like cement plants. These types of environments tend to produce a large amount of dust, and a typical camera would not be able to see more than a few inches in front of the drone, rendering the mission nearly impossible. Lidar, however, can "see" through the dust clouds, and the real-time data capture allows for the mission to continue.
These are just a few of the many use cases that make the Elios 3 a key addition for any inspector needing to inspect and/or map a confined, potentially dangerous space.