Swiss drone manufacturer Flyability has created a buzz in the inspection industry with its flagship aircraft Elios. If you’re not familiar, it is basically a small quadcopter within a cage for getting into tight (and often hazardous) places.
The Elios comes equipped with an optical camera, thermal camera, and headlights for easy inspection of all sorts of hard-to-reach places or places you simply would not want to send a human into.
In environments such as underground galleries, mines, or sewers, signal propagation can be limited by many factors. Going underground generally means having to get a signal to an aircraft through dirt, cement, rock, etc. This can severely limit the range and safe operation of the aircraft.
In order to mitigate some of these effects, Flyability has very recently introduced its own range extender specifically made for these types of use cases. It uses 20 meters of cable and an integrated reel to connect to the Flyability ground station.
It’s no great secret that line of sight will yield the best signal. But with most use cases requiring the Elios, getting the operator to a position that they have line of sight defeats the purpose of deploying the Elios in the first place.
By dropping the range extender down into the area of operation, the operator can stay distanced from hazards while still maintaining safe operation of their equipment.
This Elios operator sends the range extender down into a sewer prior to launching the Elios to avoid signal interference or having to crawl into the sewer himself.
“Since we released Elios, a year ago, we performed many field trials and could experience multiple use cases where having an extended reach is not only beneficial for the safety of the operator but sometimes provides access beyond what was previously accessible, enabling new use cases,” says Flyability CTO, Dr. Adrien Briod. “One of the first experiences we had was related to the inspection of sewers. This environment made of rocks and concrete is definitely hard on signal propagation and with the Range Extender, our customers can safely stand on the ground while operating the drone, underground, 20 meters below.”
The Range Extender is composed of an omnidirectional antenna module, 20 meters of cable and an integrated reel to ease deployment and packing. On the spot, the operator just connects the ground control station to the Range Extender, plugs a battery in and is ready to fly. Once packed, the Range Extender carrying case fits into the main transport case along with Elios allowing for a travel-friendly packaging.
An early prototype version of the Range Extender is available for purchase now in a limited number of units. A production version will be available for sales later this year. If you are interested in the Flyability Elios, DSLRPros has you covered. Click here for more info, or to request a quote.