The Elios Is a Search and Rescue Drone That Protects Itself

The Elios is a brilliantly designed search and rescue drone, specifically designed for scenarios where human rescuers are at high risk of injury.

byMarco Margaritoff| PUBLISHED Jul 7, 2017 2:20 PM
The Elios Is a Search and Rescue Drone That Protects Itself

Have you ever wished to fly your unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) through narrow spaces, but were too afraid to damage your beloved little drone in the process? Meet Flyability’s Elios (formerly known as "GimBall"), a drone specifically designed to prevent damage to your drone when squeezing through tight spots. Instead of smashing into little pieces after hitting a wall in close quarters, it’ll simply bounce right off and continue on its merry way.

The design is fairly simple and pretty brilliant. Winner of the UAE’s “Drones for Good” competition, the Elios is surrounded by an ultra-light carbon fiber net, allowing you to bump into objects without fear of breaking your drone. Instead, it’ll simply bounce right off and continue on its merry way. Not only that, but it can also essentially roll on the ground as your drone hovers.

Think of this way: somebody injures themselves in a hiking accident and the emergency response team can’t enter the crevasse without knowing how dangerous it is. The structural integrity of the emergency location could jeopardize more lives, if rescuers were to enter without any information. Enter, Elios. This thing could easily whiz into the danger zone, bounce off any obstacles in its way, feed visual information back to the response team, and let them know where the victim is, how dangerous the location is, and how to proceed. Pretty genius, no? 

Of course, the carbon fiber cage itself would even protect it from potential damage, were it to bump into anything. This thing is an inexpensive, creative, highly functional drone that could help save lives, and is exactly the kind of product that UAVs are perfect for.

As you can see on Flyability's site, the Elios has been tested in various environments and scenarios, further affirming its limitless potential. Inspecting a radiant box, a jet engine test facility, the innards and ballast tanks of a container ship, or a chemicals storage tank—these are all prime cases in which sending in a human being is inherently risky. The Elios immediately rids one of that fear, by allowing it to enter instead and providing people on the outside with clear, visual data. 

Would you want to take its place, instead? We didn't think so. This thing is genius.