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DJI Develops Industrial Drone That Can Withstand Collisions

04 July 2016

DJI, a well-known drone company, has teamed up with a Swiss aerial technology company called Flyability to create an extremely collision-tolerant drone. The Elios drone integrates the Lightbridge 2, a reliable image transmission system to better gear the UAV for inspections and exploration of inaccessible or confined spaces – particularly in industrial settings,

Elios comes in a durable enclosure to provide the system with the ability to withstand impact while reliably navigating complex structures and metallic environments.

Elios used to inspect an otherwise inaccessible space. (Image Credit: DJI) Elios used to inspect an otherwise inaccessible space. (Image Credit: DJI)

“We are happy to have Flyability as a partner working with our Lightbridge technology," said Eli Morgan Harris, Business Development Manager, DJI. "The extended range and reliability of its transmission coupled with the integrated ground unit makes Lightbridge the perfect platform for UAV companies to build their product on. We hope to see many more companies utilizing Lightbridge in the future."

The drone has a freely rotating spherical protective frame and flight control algorithms so that it can enter and make its way through complex structures like power plant boilers and tall structures up to 300 feet, without risking damage to the aircraft or structure. Normally, these dark and narrow structures would be inspected manually by humans attached to rope or climbing scaffolds, which puts them at risk for injury and can incur high costs.

Elios also possesses the ability to transmit video and data in an environment where steel and concrete structures obscure sight and may interfere with transmission and positioning systems. With this comes new exploration possibilities including glacier crevasses and nuclear power plants.

While flying the Elios, pilots receive live footage to their mobile device that can be analyzed to understand surrounding conditions.

Until now, companies in the oil, gas and maritime industries have relied on sending inspectors into confined spaces such as tanks, ballasts or pressure vessels. That can all change by instead leveraging new UAV technology.

To contact the author of this article, email Nicolette.Emmino@ieeeglobalspec.com


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