What Kind of Data Can I Capture with the Elios 2?

The data you can capture with a drone depends on its payload. Elios 2 carries an optical camera, a thermal camera, and a powerful lighting system.

Read this article to learn about all of the types of data you can capture with the Elios 2.

The Elios 2’s payload comes with:
  • A 4K Ultra HD camera
  • A FLIR thermal camera
  • LED lighting with 10,000 lumens

As you can see from this list, you can use the Elios 2 to capture both visual and thermal data. 

But it also captures a few other types of data. Here are all of the types of data you can capture with the Elios 2:

In each of the sections linked above we describe the kinds of data you can capture in that category; how you can capture the data; where the data is captured; whether you can turn the data capture off; and how you can access the data.

Want to take a closer look at the Elios 2? Here is the Elios 2 user manual.


Visual Data

elios-2-visual-data

Here are the specs for the Elios 2 camera:

  • Camera sensor—1/2.3" CMOS; Effective Pixels: 12.3 M; Sensitivity: Optimized for low light performance 
  • Video recording resolution—4k Ultra HD: 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps 
  • Video streaming resolution—FHD: 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps or SD 640 x 480 at 30fps
  • Lens—2.71 mm focal length 

Here is additional information about the characteristics of the Elios 2:

Image resolution in 4K format (pixels) 3840 x 2160
Focal length 2.71 mm
Sensor ship size 7.564 mm (H) x 5.476 mm (V)
Active sensor size in 4K format 5.952 mm (H) x 3.348 mm (V)
Pixel size 1.55 μm (H) x 1.55 μm (V)

Types of visual data you can capture

The Elios 2 allows you to capture the following types of visual data:

  • Video—4k Ultra HD in MOV
  • Still images—12MP in JPEG

You can choose from these two resolutions for visual data capture:

  • 4K UHD: 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps, data-rate 600MB/min
  • FHD 1080p: 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps, data-rate: 100MB/min

Here is the accuracy of the visual data you can capture:

  • Images with a ground sampling distance down to 0.18 mm/px
  • Close-up images with resolution of 2 cycles/mm 
  • Measurements with down to 5mm accuracy

Learn more about camera resolution metrics for the Elios 2 here

Features included with the Elios 2 allow you to:

  • Get consistent visual data capture over long patterns (i.e., for the entire length of a weld)—enabled with Distance Lock
  • Capture optical images in pitch-dark environments—enabled by the Elios 2’s powerful lighting system, and enhanced by the adjustable exposure value settings.
  • Capture images that reveal depth and add dimensionality in the object—enabled with oblique lighting

How you can capture visual data with the Elios 2

How to capture video: The Elios 2 starts capturing video automatically as soon as you arm it and it always records video while in flight. When you disarm the Elios 2, video is no longer captured. 

The Elios 2’s full 4K optical camera is fully automated and requires no additional steps for it to capture video. The camera can also record in FHD for those who would like to save on SD card space and don’t mind losing some image quality. 

How to capture still images: 12 MP still images can be captured by pressing the POI button during the flight. These images will be time-stamped in the logs. When you open your flight with the Flyability Inspector software, you can see on the timeline when the image was taken and jump easily to any image you choose.

The image exposure adapts automatically to a wide range of ambient luminosity, with an ISO value up to 12800. If you’d like to manually adapt the image brightness, you can adjust the exposure value (EV) anytime during the flight using the remote controller.

Where visual data is stored

The CAM SD card captures and stores video and still image data as soon as the Elios 2 is armed and stops when the Elios 2 is disarmed (as long as there is enough space on the CAM SD card). The recommended capacity for the CAM SD card is 64GB or 128GB. The CAM SD card requires ExFAT formatting.

The Cockpit Backup Recorder can be used to save a low-quality backup of the flight. It records the tablet screen—including both the video feed and the Cockpit interface with all telemetry displayed—during the entire flight. This backup video is saved on the tablet's internal memory and is automatically overwritten approximately every 10 flights.

This feature can be turned on in the settings menu of the Cockpit App. When turned on this feature also records some basic telemetry data. 

Is capturing visual data optional on the Elios 2?

Yes. Neither the CAM SD card nor the Cockpit Backup Recorder feature is required for the Elios 2 to be fully operational. However, the only way to stop the Elios 2 from automatically recording video is by removing the CAM SD card.

How you can access your visual data

The CAM SD Card stores both video and still image data. The required file system is exFAT. These files can be accessed in Inspector or directly on the SD card when plugged into a computer.

The Cockpit Backup Recorder stores the tablet screen recording in the tablet memory. It can be viewed directly on the tablet, or transferred to another device in two ways:

  • By plugging the tablet to a computer, using a USB cable.
  • By connecting the tablet to a WiFi

The screen recordings are stored on the tablet in this location:

Internal Storage > … > Cockpit > Screen Recordings

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Thermal Data

elios-2-thermal-data

Here are the specs for Elios 2’s thermal camera:

  • Sensor—Lepton 3.5 FLIR
  • Video recording resolution—160 x 120 at 9 fps
  • Lens—FOV 56° x 42°, Depth of field 15cm to infinity 
  • Sensitivity (NEDT)—<50 mK 
  • Wavelength—8-14 μm

Types of thermal data you can capture

The Elios 2 allows you to capture the following types of thermal data:

  • Thermal video—at 9 frames per second (fps).
  • Thermal stills—can easily be extracted from the video and overlaid on the RGB images thanks to our free software Inspector.

How you can capture thermal data with the Elios 2

The thermal camera starts recording automatically when the Elios 2 is armed and stops when it is disarmed.

Where thermal data is stored

The thermal data is recorded on the LOG SD card, in a file with .THM extension found in each flight folder. The required file system is FAT32. The recommended max capacity for the LOG SD card is 32GB. (Flight parameter data is also saved to the LOG SD card.) 

Is capturing thermal data optional on the Elios 2?

No. The Elios 2 cannot fly without a LOG SD card actively collecting data. Flight parameter data is also saved to the LOG SD card.

How you can access your thermal data

The thermal data recorded on the LOG SD card (with file extension .THM) can be opened by Inspector. Make sure that the .THM file resides in the same folder as the .LOG file, and open the video + log file with Inspector.

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Measurement Data

Elios-2-2D-measurements

Elios-2-distance-between-walls

Note: The images that appear above were taken from the Elios 2 user manual.

Using Inspector, you can make measurements on the images you capture with the Elios 2.

Measurements can be useful for determining the size of a potential defect in an area being inspected, or in helping to locate pitting or other irregularities.

Types of measurement data you can capture:

Images captured by the Elios 2 can be analyzed in Inspector to determine the distance between any two points (point-to-point distance).

The feature to measure needs to be on a flat surface perpendicular to the camera’s optical axis.

Limitation: The accuracy of the measurement is ±10% of the measured length with a maximum of ±5mm accuracy.

Here are some other examples of measurements that are possible using the  distance sensor of the Elios 2, on Cockpit or in Inspector:

  • Distance between two walls. By placing the aircraft back against one of the walls, the distance between the two walls is given by: Distance = Camera distance + 34cm.
  • Horizontal distance between front distance sensor (i.e., the front of the aircraft) and a surface.

All these measurements are based on the drone-to-object distance sensed by the distance sensor mounted next to the camera. This sensor rotates with the camera, so that measurements can be taken regardless of the camera orientation.

Limitation: The range of the distance sensors is about 2m, depending on the type of surfaces and the presence of dust.

How you can capture measurement data with the Elios 2

The distance sensor records the distance during the whole flight. Measurement data (point-to-point distance on an image) is computed using both the distance sensor data and the visual data. 

The Elios 2 starts capturing visual data as soon as you arm it. When you disarm the Elios 2, visual data is no longer captured.

The Elios 2’s full 4K optical camera is fully automated and requires no additional steps for it to capture visual data. 

Where measurement data is captured

The distance data measured by the distance sensors are stored in the LOG files, on the LOG SD card.

To make 2D (i.e., point-to-point) measurements you need both the distance data and the video, which is saved onto the CAM SD card provided with your Elios 2. The required file system for video is exFAT.

Both video and still image data are saved onto the CAM SD card provided with your Elios 2. The required file system is exFAT. 

Once images are captured they can be analyzed for measurements using Inspector.

Note: Please only use the provided CAM SD card. This card has been tested to ensure it meets writing speed requirements and provides the proper recording of the inspection footage.

How you can access your measurement data

The CAM SD Card data contains the visual data, and the LOG SD card contains the distance data in the LOG files. You need both for determining point-to-point measurements in Inspector. Once you are in Inspector, you can click on images to measure the distance between different points on the image (see above for examples of the types of measurements that are possible).

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Flight Parameter Data 

elios-2-data-capture

While you’re in the air the Elios 2 captures various types of telemetry data about your flight.

Types of flight parameter data you can capture

Here are the types of flight parameter data Elios 2 captures:
  • Altitude
  • Camera pitch angle
  • Heading
  • Points of Interest

How you can capture flight parameter data with the Elios 2

Flight parameter data is recorded automatically when the Elios 2 is armed and stops when it is disarmed.

Where flight parameter data is stored

The LOG SD card begins recording flight parameter data as soon as the Elios 2’s battery is plugged in. The required file system is FAT32. The recommended max capacity for the LOG SD card is 32GB.

Note: Please only use the provided LOG SD card. This card has been tested to ensure it meets writing speed requirements and provides the proper recording of the inspection footage.

The Cockpit Backup Recorder can also be used to save some telemetry data. This feature can be turned on in the settings menu of the Cockpit App. When turned on, this feature makes a screen recording of the tablet, including both the video feed and the telemetry data displayed by Cockpit.

Is capturing flight parameter data optional on the Elios 2?

No. The Elios 2 cannot fly without a LOG SD card.

But—the Elios 2 can fly without the Cockpit Backup Recorder feature activated.

How you can access your flight parameter data

The flight parameter data recorded on the LOG SD card can be accessed using the LOG SD card in Inspector

The telemetry/flight parameter data recorded by the Cockpit Backup Recorder is saved to a subtitle file (.srt), which can be accessed in Inspector.

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Aircraft information 

elios-2-aircraft-information

The Elios 2 also collects information on its status and history. This data is only used to debug the aircraft.

Types of flight information data you can capture

As soon as the battery is plugged in the Elios 2 begins to record  aircraft information, including:

  • Sensor values
  • Internal aircraft states
  • Controller inputs

How you can capture flight information data with the Elios 2

Aircraft information data is recorded automatically when the Elios 2 is armed and stops when it is disarmed.

Where flight information data is stored

The Avionics SD card contains the flight information for the Elios 2.

Is capturing flight information data optional on the Elios 2?

No. The Elios 2 cannot fly without an Avionics SD card actively collecting flight information data.

How you can access your flight information data 

The Avionics SD card functions as the Elios 2’s black box. The aircraft information it records is not readable by end-users (i.e., customers using the Elios 2).

This data is recorded to provide an account of what took place during a flight in case a malfunction occurs. If a malfunction does occur, this data can be downloaded and shared with Flyability’s engineers so that they can review the record to try and determine the cause.

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