Flyability bags $15M in new funding to improve Elios 3 drone

Flyability Elios 3

Confined space inspection drone specialist Flyability says it has raised more than $15 million in new funding to enhance the sensing and autonomy capabilities of its latest product, Elios 3.

The funding comes as part of the Switzerland-based company’s Series C, on top of the $7 million it had already closed.

While Japan-based SBI Investment led the round, Flyability’s backers also include some of its key customers. Investors Cargill and Dow, for example, have used Flyability’s inspection technology to keep their workers out of potentially dangerous spaces during inspections. Dow’s global robotics technology leader Marty Robinson says:

Flyability’s constantly evolving technology has gone beyond simple confined space elimination for visual inspections to a more advanced platform, adding new sensors and capabilities for future expansion. Innovative robotic solutions like the Elios 3 continue to accelerate our sustainability and safety goals.

Patrick Thévoz, cofounder and CEO of Flyability, is naturally thrilled at closing an oversubscribed round. Here’s Thévoz:

The maturity of the drone market has evolved remarkably fast in the last three years, with a growing number of customers successfully deploying large fleets and now considering the use of flying robotics as the new standard for inspection. As a result, Flyability is currently growing extremely fast, with close to a thousand customers and offices in the USA, Singapore, China, and Lausanne, fueled by the huge traction for our new product platform, the recently-launched Elios 3.

Elios 3 is billed as the world’s first collision-tolerant drone equipped with a LiDAR sensor for indoor 3D mapping. It is powered by the company’s new proprietary simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) engine called FlyAware.

A combination of computer vision, LiDAR technology, and Nvidia graphic engine, FlyAware acts as a centimeter-accurate indoor GPS for the drone, building real-time 3D maps and enabling the aircraft to sense its surroundings accurately. Flyability says its plan is to make complex confined-space inspections completely autonomous in the future using FlyAware. 

Read: Tando indoor drone gets $15M capital boost to go global

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