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Flyability Elios 3: building a platform, not just a drone

Josh Spires | 20 May, 2022 | The Sphere Drones Blog

Featured image for Flyability Elios 3: building a platform, not just a drone

Flyability launched the Flyability Elios 3 last week, marking the beginning of a change in direction for the company and a continuation of Industry 4.0. Flyability has switched from building a closed drone system to an open drone platform that allows other payloads, including GPS to be used.

Building a platform, not a drone

A big shift in the thinking behind the Elios 3 is that it is no longer a final package, positioning it as an open platform rather than closed system. In its simplest form, this means the Flyability Elios 3 is compatible with third-party payloads and post-processing software.

If you think of the Elios 2 as your classic flip phone, only designed to make phone calls, the Elios 3 is the smartphone.

Adrien Briod, CTO of Flyability

Expansion ports

Apart of this new platform thinking, Elios 3 features a LiDAR port, an expansion port, and a dedicated GPS port. By default, the one expansion port is taken up by the LiDAR, which is recommended to be kept installed but can be removed if needed. The other port can be used with any payload up to 600 grams.

The GPS port will allow for a GPS module to be added to the Elios 3 giving it the ability to fly outdoors and not need to rely on the visual stabilisation as much.

Flyability Elios 3 port

LiDAR payload

The Oustar OS0-32 LiDAR unit comes standard with the Elios 3 and is a direct result of this new thinking. The LiDAR unit allows it to map the flight area in real-time as well as improving the stability of the drone. The LiDAR also allows the flight path to be visualised in flight making it easier to navigate confined spaces and ensures you haven't missed any areas in the operation.

To make the LiDAR unit even more useful Flyability has partnered with GeoSLAM, allowing the creation of survey-grade models. The partnership comes as a result of a long industry-wide search on Flyability's behalf to find the best geospatial software.

Inspection payload

The Elios 3 features a dedicated inspection payload. This payload consists of a 4k RGB camera, a thermal camera, and a distance sensor mounted on a vibration dampened gimbal. On either side of the gimbal there is an array of LED lights equalling up to 16k lumens.

Elios 3 dedicated payload

The future of payloads

While the LiDAR unit is the only payload currently available, this will change over the next few months and years. Not only will Flyability be able to create more payloads, but other companies will also be able to, either integrating current ones or producing Elios 3-specific models.

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