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The drone developed by Flybotix achieves a world first for indoor inspections


22 August 2022

In collaboration with Valais-based HYDRO Exploitation, the drone developed by Flybotix carried out an inspection of a 1,200-meter-long penstock in 16 minutes.

Smaller drones all share a common limitation: flight time is limited by the efficiency of the propellers and the weight of the battery, requiring missions to be interrupted at regular intervals to change or recharge the battery. EPFL start-up Flybotix has built a new type of drone with an ingenious propulsion system to overcome this limitation.

The technology developed by Flybotix aims to double the flight time of compact drones. The Vaud-based start-up used maglev propulsion and steering technology as a foundation for creating its 390 mm, dual-rotor, collision-resistant drone, making it suitable for indoor visual inspection of oil and gas assets.

Awarded at the BlueArk Challenge 2020, Flybotix has come up with a solution for inspection and 3D modeling of large water pipes. To do so, it equipped its drone with an HD thermal camera and LED lighting. After an indoor flight, a 3D digital twin of the conduits is created, allowing to detect leaks and other problems. 

A world first for a technology with a wide range of applications

Always looking for innovative solutions to improve its services, Valais-based company HYDRO Exploitation has collaborated with Flybotix for the inspection of mechanical structures using drones. The inspection of mechanical structures is one of the high value-added services offered by HYDRO Exploitation.

Thanks to the collaboration with Flybotix, a penstock inspection using the ASIO drone was carried out in July 2022. The drone inspected the interior of the penstock over a length of 1,200 meters for a duration of 16 minutes.

The technology developed by Flybotix can be used in virtually any drone application. Since its founding in 2019, the company has attracted several customers, filed 3 patents, completed two rounds of financing, developed a product, secured several grants, and established academic and industry partnerships.