Cage drones are a revolutionary tool for flight in confined spaces. Here we get an expert depth comparison of the Elios 2 and the Mavic 2 in the cage. Read on to find out which tool is best for monitoring or industrial inspection in hard-to-reach places.
The following is a guest post from inspection expert Jason De Silveira, CEO of Nexxis, a global equipment rental and services company. DRONELIFE does not accept or pay guest posts.
The Elios 2 versus the Caged Mavic 2
The successful use of Flyability’s Elios 2 inspection drone has inevitably resulted in copycat products being launched – generally at a much cheaper level. One such option is the safety cage that can be used with the Mavic 2 series. In the interests of healthy competition, we examine how the two products compare and – especially in the area of inspection and monitoring – how important it is to choose the right tool for certain tasks.
While both the Elios 2 and Mavic 2 may look similar in the cage at first glance, nothing could be further from the truth. The most important aspect is that the Elios was specially made for inspections in confined spaces. On the other hand, the cage that surrounds the Mavic 2 is just that – an external skeleton to protect the drone inside.
With that in mind, let’s examine the reasons you might choose the lower cost option for certain surveillance tasks.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Caged Mavic 2
Interestingly, the cage was designed for this for the entire Mavic 2 series. This inexpensive option may give the impression that it is suitable for tight spaces. Note, however, that this is an add-on – not a complete solution. While it helps to protect the Mavic 2 in the event of an impact, it is not a well-rounded solution for flying in tight spaces.
This option is a good choice for outdoor surveillance with few obstacles, and the Elios camera can’t compete with the Mavic 2’s 20MP thermal and visual camera. However, adding a cage to a drone doesn’t suddenly make it suitable for hard-to-reach areas. The following are the most pressing reasons why you would not want to send the drone (caged or not) into a narrow mine shaft or an area where visibility is impaired:
- Adding a cage means the Mavic 2 will turn off the sensing feature: Flying in areas with multiple obstacles requires a bespoke sensory system. The fact that it cannot be used when a cage is added puts both the vehicle and the structure at risk.
- The cage weight halves the operating time: Adding the cage to the drone will reduce the effective flight time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes, reducing efficiency.
- Additional lighting is limited: The best option to increase visibility is to add a 2,400 lumens spotlight. While this is somewhat effective, it cannot compete with the Elios 2’s dust-proof lighting with 10,000 lumens.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Elios 2
The most important thing to understand is that the Elios 2 is designed for the specific task of inspecting in tight spaces. The cage is an integral part of the inspection system and not an add-on. The camera and surveillance system was developed with limited space at the front line to enable the most accurate data acquisition possible and a clear view. Together, these offer a multitude of benefits for those who control the equipment and for those planning maintenance and repair tasks:
- Seven stability sensors: Combined with an altitude mode and improved reversibility motors, the drone automatically corrects its trajectory and stays calm for crystal clear footage and data acquisition.
- Has a bounceability factor: Quite simply, the drone is designed in such a way that it can jump over all obstacles when it comes into contact with them.
- Improved operator visibility: The 10,000 lumens dustproof lighting system mentioned above provides the best line of sight possible, even in dark, dusty and cloudy environments.
- An oblique lighting system: As any asset owner knows, the ability to spot minute details that could indicate a potential crack or blockage is key to proactive maintenance. The Elios 2 has a sloping lighting system that goes beyond just illuminating the area. He actively seeks and recognizes such problems. Add the ability to turn on the distance lock feature that allows the operator to fly a fixed distance of 30 to 200cm from a wall or object for the most accurate data collection, and you get another reason why it is advanced inspection tool.
- Real-time inspection data: Thanks to an upgrade software package from the predecessor Elios 1, on-board data can be analyzed immediately in 2D and are accurate to 0.18 m / pixel. A generated 3D point cloud provides a visual representation of the environment in which the Elios is flying and the exact location at which the POI (Point of Interest) is located.
When it comes to inspection tasks in confined spaces, there is no comparison between the two products – the Elios 2 undoubtedly wins. However, that doesn’t mean the caged Mavic 2 doesn’t have its place – far from it. It’s a great tool for outdoor surveillance. However, adding a protective cage for a close inspection at the expense of the associated degradation in performance seems somewhat counterproductive.
Far better to use a tool designed for the job – and the Elios 2, while more expensive, has unmatched features. From tank inspection to mapping underground mine stops and everything in between, the quality of the inspection data from this state-of-the-art tool is a small price to pay for the information it provides for planning and performing ongoing maintenance.
Tools like the Elios 2 are just one example of the innovative options that equipment provider Nexxis offers. Using an innovative approach, their experts work with facility and facility owners to identify the most beneficial solutions when they need it – a refreshing approach for industries that demand flexibility in inspection equipment requirements.
Jason De Silveira, Managing Director, Nexxis. Jason, founder and director of a specialist equipment rental and service company, Nexxis Pty Ltd, has over 20 years of project management experience on installations, commissioning and commissioning in Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Kuwait, Ghana and Dubai.
Nexxis is a leader in the innovation and development of inspection and maintenance technologies that enable safer and more economically efficient solutions. Nexxis believes in a true solution-oriented approach, flexible financing options, expert advice and the latest global technologies that set them apart from other technical equipment companies.