Drones are often used not only for entertainment and video filming but also for industrial work at height. They allow you not to risk the health of specialists and often significantly speed up work. However, it is difficult for drones to fly inside buildings and technical structures for inspection. And when they collide with something, they usually fall and cannot continue the mission.
The Swiss company Flybotix is working on a new type of drone for the inspection of industrial plants. Called the ASIO inspection drone, it is designed specifically for flights in tight spaces and features a protective housing, visible and infrared cameras, and powerful LED illumination.
The indoor drone for industrial plants is built around a patented drive system that is powered by ultra-flat, brushless DC motors that Flybotix developed with Obwalden-based company maxon. The electric motors have been specifically optimized for use in drones in terms of weight and performance. This will enable the drone to carry out longer missions, reach remote locations, and save costs.
According to Flybotix, this aircraft can stay in the air for up to 24 minutes, twice as long as previous models. Besides, the drone is capable of maintaining communication at a distance of up to 16 kilometers in open areas. The developers claim that the signal is strong enough to work inside a concrete building one floor away.
ASIO should be able to work collision-proof even in narrow areas and is therefore surrounded by a protective cage for safe inspections. It has only two instead of four rotors and an algorithmically controlled drive and steering mechanism with two degrees of freedom.
On the front is the main payload: a 4K resolution (3840×2160 pixels) camera, combined with a display on the remote control, allows you to spot the tiniest details in true colors and to capture 12 megapixels pictures directly during the flight. They are assisted by two arrays of LEDs with a total brightness of 10,000 lumens. The cameras are mounted on a stabilizing gimbal with a 90-degree deflection.
It allows pilots to fly safely in dangerous areas such as oil storage tanks, underground mines, or power plants. In order to carry out its monitoring tasks, this 1 kg drone can even turn itself upside down to get a better view of the object to be monitored.
The first prototype of the Flybotix drone was presented in the summer of 2019. The ASIO drone is planned to be launched on the market in early 2021.