Flyability Partners with Mirion to Detect Nuclear Radiation Threats
Drone inspections of public energy grids are becoming increasingly commonplace. But few companies have the technical know-how to conduct these inspections within the interior of grid infrastructure. Swiss-owned Flyability has pioneered indoor drone inspections for several years, earning the company global plaudits; now Flyability is taking indoor inspections one step further.
The company has designed a fleet of special drones equipped to fly inside nuclear storage facilities to detect their ambient radiation levels and to identify possible radiation leaks.
For nuclear personnel, Flyability’s remote inspections are not only faster and more efficient, they’re also safer. A team of field inspectors – re-trained as remote drone pilots and AI-enhanced data collectors – can now “enter” highly contaminated nuclear storage spaces at a distance to conduct their once high-risk surveys without exposing themselves to harm.
With Flyability already responsible for 80% of all US nuclear facility inspections, the insurance liability and workplace safety costs associated with the company’s new state-of-the-art sensor technology are enormous.
Flyability isn’t operating alone. Its technology partner, Mirion Technologies, is a leading provider of radiation detection, measurement, analysis, and monitoring equipment. Flyability’s state-of-the art Elios 3 indoor drone, equipped with a Mirion RDS-32™ radiation survey meter, can fly inside a nuclear reactor to collect accurate radiation data while nuclear personnel remain safely outside of irradiated areas during data collection.
The data is collected and available for analysis both during the flight and immediately afterward, for post-processing. 3-D imaging maps can identify weaknesses in facility infrastructure and link them to rising radiation levels and leakage threats to allow for timely remediation.
Flyability CEO Patrick Thévoz extols the virtues of the two companies’ partnership. “This collaboration will allow Flyability’s customers in the nuclear sector to leverage the very best data collection tools available for their work, helping to significantly reduce the need for workers to be exposed to harmful radiation or to the hazards of confined space entry for the purposes of conducting routine inspections.”
Flyability’s Elios 3 model is its most advanced model to date. Its maiden indoor flights were conducted last year inside a nuclear storage facility in Idaho in partnership with the Idaho Environmental Council. The two groups plan to launch joint nuclear reactor inspections with Mirion’s remote radiation sensing equipment throughout the United States and increasingly abroad.
Investors, led by Japan’s SBI Investment, have committed more than $22 million in new investment capital to the company in the past six months alone. Other new investors include Cargill and Verve Ventures, as well past investors such as Dow, ETF Partners, Swisscom, and Future Industry Ventures.
“Following Flyability’s growth since its previous funding round, we were delighted to have the opportunity to invest in such an exciting business,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, the Representative Director, Chairman and President of SBI Investment. “The Flyability team has made outstanding progress over the past 12 months, and we look forward to contributing to the future successes of the business.”
Flyability will showcase the potential of its new remote detection drones during an exhibition at the 2023 National Radiological Emergency Preparedness (NREP) Conference from April 3rd to the 6th in Indianapolis, IN at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.