Flyability, a Swiss company building safe drones for inaccessible places, has rolled out the range extender, an accessory for the collision-tolerant Elios unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
Flyability’s range extender connects to the Elios ground station and provides an extended signal reach for operations taking place beyond the visual line of sight of the drone pilot.
According to the company, the range extender opens up new applications for demanding indoor drone inspections and missions in which communication between the UAS and the pilot is particularly difficult, such as underground galleries, stacks, mines or boilers.
The range extender comprises an omnidirectional antenna module, 20 meters of cable and an integrated reel. On the spot, the operator connects the ground control station to the range extender, plugs a battery in and deploys the drone. When packed, the range extender carrying case fits into the main transport case along with the Elios drone.
“From the experience we’ve had with our customers in the field, we learned a lot on the conditions in which the drone is operated and the difficulties it sometimes represents to reach the place from where the drone will be deployed,” says Flyability’s product manager, Arnaud Janvier. “With that in mind, we’ve designed the range extender carrying case – which houses all the elements needed for a mission – to be easily worn over the shoulder to cover the last mile that brings you to the site of inspection.”
An early prototype version of the range extender is available for purchase in a limited number of units. A production version will be available for sales later this year.