Well-known for the Elios and Elios 2 drones, Flyability recently announced a partnership with Pix4D to answer the growing demand for 3D modeling from its clients.

With a focus on providing customers with tools for the inspection and exploration of indoor, inaccessible, and confined spaces, Flyability has proven its place in the industry with the Elios drones. The first iteration of the drone brought value to environments that range from coal plants to nuclear sites to underground mines, and the launch of the Elios 2 took these value propositions to a whole new level.

However, following up on the launch of the Elios 2, Flyability has seen a growing demand for a complete solution to deliver 3D models of confined spaces. "At first, it was not always obvious how building 3D models could bring value to our customers,” said Marc Gandillon, Marketing Manager with Flyability. “Eight months after the launch of Elios 2, this is much clearer.”

To facilitate access to a coherent and complete product offering to tackle indoor 3D modeling using photogrammetry, Flyability and Pix4D partnership introduces two bundles sold in the form of a Photogrammetry Add-On that can be purchased on top of Elios 2 drone packages. The first Add-On includes the yearly Pix4Dmapper license, while the second includes the same license with the addition of Flyability’s new Indoor Photogrammetry Training.

Unfortunately, Elios 1 owners won’t be able to take advantage of this bundle, since that drone doesn’t produce the required data quality for 3D modeling.

“The Indoor Photogrammetry Training that we offer as part of this bundle is an excellent primer to approach photogrammetry and more specifically when it has to do with indoor/confined spaces,” Gandillon told Commercial UAV News. “Even those who are used to producing a 3D model of outdoor spaces will benefit from this training. Keep in mind that indoor there is no GPS and the 3D models are created without geo-references. The latter has a lot of impact on the way you collect data.”

Recommended to those who want to produce 3D models of indoor spaces to combine technologies through a bundled purchase, the Elios 2 bundle provides mining companies with the ability to produce 3D models of stopes. According to Gandillon, this brings tremendous value and is highly complementary to other indoor mapping solutions (e.g., Lidar and Cavity Monitoring Systems (CMS)).

“We recently ran a mission for a company that runs multiple refineries,” Gandillon continued. “During this mission, the team from the refinery had a hard time making a decision on whether or not they had to cut open their installation and repel someone down a 20-inch vertical pipe. The ability to produces a small 3D model of the area of interest allowed them to make a decision and avoid what would have been a very dangerous and costly operation. We had never predicted this scenario. As we had never planned all the use cases covered by the Elios drones, we will probably discover new use cases for indoor photogrammetry as our customer base using 3D modeling grows. Flyability is always looking to innovate through partnerships and R&D, and as all tech companies, our labs, and testing rooms are full of interesting and promising prototypes.” 

Right now, the company is competing in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, and is also part of the ROBINS project.

“We believe that the usage of drones in the asset management business is still in its infancy,” Gandillon mentioned. “It requires a lot of education and evangelization to drive a major change in this industry. However, we've been experiencing tremendous growth year on year since we launched the Elios 1, and we have good reasons to think that this is not about to stop. The demand is not only about better drone technology but also about closer integration with existing customer infrastructures.”

Available now, the Add-on with the yearly Pix4Dmapper license costs $3,150, and the one with the license and the Indoor Photogrammetry Training costs $6,030. The company’s Indoor Photogrammetry Training will initially be available through Flyability directly, and subsequently through its Authorized Training Centers, progressively throughout 2020.