Flyability and Pix4D: Drone Companies Partner to Bring Indoor Inspections to the Next Level

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Flyability and Pix4D: Drone Companies Partner to Bring Indoor Inspections to the Next Level

“3D modeling brings tremendous value to inspection professionals on multiple fronts,” says Flyability’s Marc Gandillon.  “First of all, when looking at a defect using remote visual inspection technology, the information you get on the video stream is flat. You can easily spot cracks, corrosion, or other visually-featured defects. However, sometimes, this is not sufficient and depth perception (beyond the information you can get by using oblique lighting technics) is required to assess the severity of a defect. By building a local 3D (3D model focused on a point of interest inside an asset) you get this depth perception that often helps inspectors to make a decision,” says Gandillon.

“This is precisely what happened to our refinery customer that was assessing if the refractory inside the riser of one of its FCC unit had to be repaired immediately or if this could wait for the next shutdown. In this case, building the 3D model only took about 30 minutes, which is far less time consuming and dangerous than physically repelling someone down the riser.”

“The other aspect where 3D modeling is of precious help in asset maintenance has to do with streamlining the logistics and planning of repairs during shutdowns,” Gandillon points out. “By building a complete 3D model of an asset and combining it with flat 2-dimensional visual information, a turnaround manager and his team can make informed decisions on how to stage/prepare an asset for repair as they can physically localize defects within the asset. With a scaled 3D model you can measure how high you have to scaffold, you can figure out where you have to dig to access the broken part of a culvert, and you can simply measure if there is enough room around a worker to actually perform the work he’s got to perform.”

The following is a Flyability press release.

January 8, 2020 – Flyability and Pix4D are pleased to announce the recent signature of a partnership agreement to offer bundled Flyability and Pix4D products. ​The bundle will be sold in the form of a Photogrammetry Add-On that can be purchased on top of Elios 2 drone packages. This offer is meant to facilitate access to a coherent and complete product offering to those who want to tackle indoor 3D modeling using photogrammetry.

The design of the Elios 2 makes it a formidable tool to build 3D models of indoor spaces using photogrammetry. The photogrammetry processing engine of Pix4Dmapper is the industry-leading photogrammetry software solution. It delivers outstanding performances when it comes to processing non-georeferenced images ; a feature that is much needed when building 3D models of GPS-denied environments.

“Since the launch of Elios 2, we’ve seen a growing demand for a complete solution to deliver 3D models of confined spaces,” says Marc Gandillon, Marketing Manager with Flyability. “At first, it was not always obvious how building 3D models could bring value to our customers. Eight months after the launch of Elios 2, this is much more clear.”

To illustrate the value of 3D modeling in confined spaces, Flyability recently performed a demonstration for a customer who is running a refinery. The customer was wondering if they had to cut open the riser in one of their FCC units during a turnaround to remediate a defect. By looking at 2D pictures, it was challenging for them to determine the severity of the defect. By building a 3D model of the part of interest, they could immediately see that the defect did not threaten the functioning of the equipment, and remediation could wait for the next turnaround or proper planning. Using a 3D model literally saved them days of downtime.

“Drones and photogrammetry have proved their potential in many applications,” says Nikoleta Guetcheva, Head of Marketing at Pix4D, “but using the Elios 2 to create a 3D model now allows teams to make more informed decisions and provide a valuable record for the future in places that were once inaccessible to the human eye.”

The launch of the new Photogrammetry Add-On comes along with the launch of a new training course dedicated to Indoor Photogrammetry. This course will initially be available through Flyability directly and subsequently through its Authorized Training Centers, progressively throughout 2020.


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