Advanced Aerial Inspection Upgraded with the Elios 3
Effective, affordable and reliable inspection drone technology has long been the nirvana that designers have been chasing. While solutions have been around for many years, the Flyability Elios 3 has moved the technology to a superior level.
While external drone use has its issues – namely image capture quality, run time and payload – doing so within a tight internal structure magnifies all of these – and that’s on top of having to navigate within complex structures.
The latest version of the Flyability Elios platform – Elios 3 – benefits from the addition of a LiDAR sensor, something that offers significant improvement.
The LiDAR Advantage
Adding LiDAR technology means that the Elios 3 can build up a three-dimensional live map in real-time. It does so by combining the hardware technology with advanced software that’s provided by partner company, GeoSLAM. The 3D model that’s produced is survey grade and is rapidly captured during the inspection flight. The drone can hover for extended periods, no matter how tough the environment, and can be done by a pilot with minimal training.
Once gathered, the GeoSLAM software is easily processed. View it via a 3D viewer and export it to multiple file types (.TXT, .LAZ, .PLY etc).
The Benefits of Accurate 3D Mapping
Gaining in-depth visual data boosts and elevates the inspection process. Inspectors can:
- Get eyes on the specific location and severity of asset faults
- Gain valuable geometry, even in environments with obscured views (such as dust or smog)
- Achieve 100% internal structure coverage, no matter how complex the internal configuration
- Gain all this information remotely, removing the need for extended shutdown and/or making it safe for human entry.
Real-world examples of where the Elios 3 is already revolutionising drone surveying includes:
- Mining: After two months of unsuccessful exploratory drilling holes to try and determine a blockage in an ore pass, the maintenance team of a large mining operation gave up. While production in the region of the mine had ceased, the decision was made to try Elios 3 technology. The location was determined within 10 minutes and the blockage displayed on a 3D map.
- Water/Wastewater: Using Elios 3, the Lausanne water department used the technology to map the entire portfolio of its assets. This was done over several months in a proactive method that allowed them to track changes over time and plan and carry out necessary maintenance tasks. Thanks to the precise geolocations provided by the software, there was no need for high-risk human entry to discover this information.
- Power generation: A no-go zone within a Vattenfall decommissioned power plant was accurately mapped using Elios 3 and its LiDAR data capture. The accurately captured information gave incredible insight into the hazardous locations.
- Cement: Despite the inhospitable dusty environment within a silo owned by a large French cement plant, the Elios 3’s Live Map was easily able to fly within the structure and capture data. This was used to safely carry out a clinker inventory stockpile measurement and was done so in approximately 30 minutes.
- Mining and mapping: A Luxembourg-based division within the mines, mining and quarries section utilised the technology to map an old slate quarry that was due to be converted into a museum. Thanks to the speed and accuracy of the 3D mapping data, the chambers of the structure were quickly and effectively mapped. This allowed all safety assessments to be carried out before any human entry was deemed necessary.
Adding LiDAR capability raises the already impressive Elios technology to a whole new level. Taking advantage of this and other cutting-edge inspection technology is the driving force behind the Nexxis procurement model. Elios 3 is just one example of the latest equipment that the team has at their disposal to help maintenance teams improve and streamline inspection processes.
A proactive approach that utilises the latest solutions to reduce costs, elevate results and improve safety is at the core of the Nexxis way.
You can read more about our aerial drones in How the Maritime Industry Is Embracing Elios 2 Drone Technology