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  • Writer's pictureTyesha Ferron

Cage the Drone: Flyability's Design for "Collision-Tolerant" Drones Improves Indoor In

Photo courtesy of Flyability

If you couldn't make it to AUVSI XPONENTIAL this year, then you missed out on witnessing current projects in drone technology and business firsthand. In particular, the latest innovation in drones used for inspections was revealed during the conference: Flyability’s Elios 2. Elios 2 is the latest version of the inspection drone built by startup company Flyability, and their second drone overall. Its creative design reconsiders how drones avoid obstructions and changes the way drones navigate through indoor spaces.

Flyability is a Swiss company that builds drones specifically to be operated safely "indoors, in complex and confined spaces, and in contact with people." Dr. Adrien Briod and Patrick Thévoz founded Flyability in 2014, and it's based In Lausanne, Switzerland. They describe their company as a "spin-off from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and the laboratory of intelligent systems." In another post, we’ve mentioned how the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (a.k.a.Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne) housed the research team that researched and developed the foldable drone, so it seems like innovative solutions to drone-related problems are their thing.

Image Credit: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne

Flyability made a name for themselves when they released Elios 1 in 2016. When they released the original Elios, they described it as the first “collision-tolerant” drone. Rather than focus their efforts on creating and testing sensors that can scan their surrounding area to avoid bumping or crashing into things, they instead designed a protective frame around their drone. The protective frame is made from carbon fiber and can tolerate collisions up to 15 km/h. It also has a modular design to make it easy to maintain. Elios’s unique design was inspired by insects, which are able to maintain their stabilization after a mid-flight collision. We’ve all seen flies ram into light bulbs and bounce back just fine; it’s kinda the same idea.

Flyability advertises Elios as being able to Improve safety, reduce downtime, and save money. These key factors were improved upon with the Elios 2. Elios 2 was built in partnership with IQ Motion Control, a robotics company that specializes in developing advanced motion control systems. In their blog post, Flyability states that they formed this partnership to “bring an active collision tolerant propulsion system to life.” You can read more about it here.

Photos courtesy of Flyability

Elios 2 is also advertised as the most intuitive, reliable, and precise indoor inspection drone and is designed to navigate through confined spaces. On their blog, you can see several case studies where Elios 2 created photogrammetric models of mines, inspected amusement parks, investigated the aftermath of a fire, and more.

If you're interested in flying the Elios 2 for your upcoming inspections, feel free to contact Flyability directly to learn more about the new Elios 2 platform. They are currently accepting orders and training is included along with easy maintenance and a support team.


I am a writer and an artist based in Georgia. Specializing in illustration, graphic design, and video art, I love to explore the new ways technology intersects with art. I think drones have done amazing things for photography and video art, making what would previously be costly and difficult more accessible. As a complete novice, it was only recently that I saw what independent artists could do with their drones, and I continue to be impressed by the sights that drones are able to explore and the images they can capture. Instagram: @tyesha.ferron

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