Flyability’s new Elios 2 RAD indoor drone maps radiation risk

elios 2 rad

Confined space inspection specialist Flyability has announced the release of Elios 2 RAD – a radiation sensor-equipped drone, developed especially for nuclear station inspections.

Typically, nuclear stations have employees devoted to maintaining low radiation exposure levels following the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) requirements. The Elios 2 RAD drone will help these workers in their mission by:

  • Replacing people, wherever possible, for visual and radiation data collection
  • Providing high-quality data for planning interventions where exposure risk cannot be negated but can be minimized

Explaining how the new drone equipped with energy compensated Geiger-Muller detector will help to provide nuclear station staff with a safe work environment, Patrick Thévoz, CEO of Flyability, says:

The Elios 2 RAD represents the first chapter in our efforts to create indoor drones targeted specifically for each of our key verticals, accelerating our mission to use robots instead of people for dangerous indoor inspection jobs. The Elios 2 RAD has the potential to significantly reduce the need for inspectors to be exposed to harmful radiation or to the hazards of confined space entry for the purposes of conducting routine inspections.

Estimating radiation exposure risk with Elios 2 RAD

After the inspection flight, nuclear engineers can use Flyability’s Inspector 3.0 software to map the radiation along the flight path of the drone, showing the exact location of dangerous dose levels within a nuclear facility. They can also play back the inspection flight within Inspector 3.0, using it to see dose rate measurements displayed synchronously on top of the video footage.

Now, this is not Flyability’s first tryst with nuclear facilities. The company’s Elios 2 visual inspection drone has been used by nuclear operators across the world and is known to function normally while exposed to radiation for 10 minutes at a rate of 800 Rem/Hour.

Elios drone at Chernobyl disaster site

Just last year, an Elios drone was flown inside the Chernobyl disaster site to confirm that no nuclear fuel bars were present at Reactor 5, which was never activated. Now, with the Elios 2 RAD, it would be possible to return and not just see whether any bars remained, but also record the amount of radiation present throughout the entire site.

As Alexandre Meldem, VP of sales at Flyability, says:

Over 80% of US nuclear operators already use Flyability’s indoor drones for their visual inspections. Now we can expand that support by allowing engineers to collect actionable, high quality dose data.

DroneDJ’s take

While Flyability’s indoor drones have already been keeping people out of hazardous environments for a while now, this is the first time the company has invested significant resources into developing a specialized solution for one, very specific industry. Is this a trend we can expect the commercial drone industry to follow as competition heats up and the need to stand out from the crowd becomes even greater?

Read more: Belgium to use drones for high-precision nuclear radiation monitoring

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