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Flyability Unveils Elios 3 Indoor Lidar Drone for Inspections

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May 19, 2022

Switzerland’s Flyability has announced the Elios 3, a collision-tolerant drone equipped with a lidar sensor for indoor 3D mapping tasks. The drone is powered by a new SLAM engine called FlyAware that lets it create 3D models as it flies, and also includes a new version of Inspector 4.0, the company’s software for inspectors.

The company first developed its confined-space inspection drones in 2016. With the launch of the Elios 3, Flyability said it continues its pledge to create cutting-edge technology designed to keep humans out of dangerous places to perform demanding inspection tasks. As industries around the world scale up their use of drones, Flyability said they need technology that is easy to use, performs the same way each time, and remains stable when working inside highly sensitive assets.

“The Elios 3 has some of the very best stabilization in the world, a modular payload, the ability to create 3D models in real time while in flight, and it paves the way towards an increasingly autonomous future,” said Patrick Thevoz, co-founder and CEO of Flyability. “For industrial inspections, the Elios 3 is a key enabler of Industry 4.0, presenting and inspection solution that can make inspections safer, more efficient, and less expensive than ever before.”

The new drone comes with an Ouster OS0-32 lidar sensor, which lets inspectors collect data for the creation of survey-grade 3D models using software from another Flyability partner, GeoSLAM. The company said mapping areas that are out of reach or too dangerous for humans is very difficult, yet critical to support operational decisions. In addition to carrying a lidar sensor, the Elios 3 can also accommodate a second payload that lets it be customized for each individual user’s needs.

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The Elios 3 can fly in confined indoor spaces to perform 3D mapping and inspection tasks that may be too dangerous for humans.

The Elios 3 is powered by the FlyAware SLAM engine, which lets it turn the drone’s lidar data into 3D models in real time, while the drone is in flight. The new stability features combine data from the drone’s three optical cameras and the lidar sensor to “catch the tiniest unpredictable movement and instruct the flight controller to compensate for it.” Flyability said the stability and other ease-of-use features make the Elios 3 easy to operate, so that new pilots can be trained and perform their first inspection in the same day.

“The Elios 3 is the single biggest project that Flyability has ever undertaken,” said Adrien Briod, CTO of Flyability. “If you think of the Elios 2 as your classic flip phone, only designed to make phone calls, the Elios 3 is the smartphone. It’s made to be customized for the specific demands of each user, letting you attach the payload so you can use the tool as you like, and allowing it to grow and improve over time with new payloads or software solutions.”

Flyability said it has been working on the Elios 3 for four years, and in that time its engineers have spent thousands of hours on research and development, with more than 200 missions performed in the field to collect feedback.

Flyability was one of the collaborators on Team Cerberus, which won the DARPA multi-year Sub-T challenge for autonomous robotics in underground environments.

For more details on the Elios 3, visit the Flyability website here.

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