Highlights of the 2024 Flyability User Conference

On March 6 - 8 2024, Flyability had the pleasure of welcoming many users, resellers, and partners from around the world to our User Conference in Lausanne. Here are some of the highlights.

The 2024 User Conference hosted by Flyability in Switzerland was a roaring success. The event was initially advertised for 150 attendees, but ended up selling out with the final count tallying 180 people! The Alpha-Palmiers Hotel in central Lausanne served as the venue, accommodating the high numbers. Flyability's team joined too so they could meet with and hear from Elios enthusiasts from around the world.

A Momentous Product Launch! 

The highlight of the User Conference had to be the successful launch of the Elios 3’s latest payload: the ultrasonic thickness probe. After an introduction by co-founder and CEO Patrick Thévoz, Flyability’s CTO Adrien Briod shared the story of the development of this payload with people in the room as well as a livestream with over 600 registrants. A UT payload has been a target for Flyability since the Elios 2, but it was the modular design of the Elios 3 that proved the perfect platform for a UT gauge. 

The UT payload was developed over 4 years and the final product was produced in partnership with Cygnus Instruments, who have over 40 years of experience in ultrasonic thickness measurements. Cygnus’s representatives at the User Conference could see first-hand the excitement in the room when the new payload was flown through the conference hall and was deftly caught by Adrien Briod. 

UC 2024 - 12Adrien Briod catches and displays the Elios 3 and its UT payload during the launch

Flyability’s own Stefano Zampieri, product manager for the UT payload, explained that the payload has undergone over 100 days of testing in the field to prepare it for the market. He highlighted its unique features, including the articulated arm and cleaning module, that make it possible for the payload to operate in the challenging environments that the Elios 3 is designed for. 

Attendees at the event then heard from industry experts Malcolm Connolly of C-Bird, Courtland Penk of Osprey Integrity, and Danny Landry of Acuren, as they sat on a panel to discuss their experience as product advisors and beta testers of the UT payload as well as their respective expectations for its impact across industries.

Interested in watching the broadcast? Access the recording here

Inspiring Guest Speakers 

The User Conference agenda was filled with inspiring speakers from across the globe. With representatives from China, South Africa, the UK, and the USA, a wide variety of industries were the focus of the topics. 

On the first day of the conference, attendees heard from Bureau Veritas’s Marine and Offshore division with Sumit Paul and David Huet, who discussed their tests of data collected inside ships with the Elios 3 and analysis with AI. Next, Cargill’s Remotely Operated Systems Director Calvin Rieb shared his expertise on how drone users and service providers can adopt and demonstrate the value of using drones to both internal and external parties. 

UC 2024 - 33Calvin Rieb of Cargill discussed the means of proving the return on investment of using drones

The afternoon of March 6th saw a focus on stories. Delta Scan’s Managing Director Darryl Epstein shared the challenges of digitizing infrastructure and a focus on using highly detailed visualizations to prove the quality of results in projects ranging from industrial inspections to emergency response. He was followed by Marcus Jocham of DEKRA Visatec, who explained how his company had turned to inspecting assets with drones after seeing the immense safety improvements they provided. The Elios 3 has made it possible for his team to provide services that are safer and faster than any inspection methods in the past. 

There was then a turn to energy and the nuclear sector. Vattenfall’s Anders Lindstrom explained Vattenfall’s journey with Flyability, from the Elios 1 to Elios 3. He highlighted its applications in power generation, including inspecting areas in hydro and nuclear plants. Next, Sellafield’s Amanda Smith and the Idaho Environment Coalition’s Kevin Young were on stage for a panel discussion on the challenges of nuclear waste management - and how the Elios is making it possible to get critical data more safely. In conversation with the event MC Eloise McMinn Mitchell, they highlighted the enhanced access they have thanks to the Elios 3, as well as the development of specialized maintenance practices to mitigate contamination concerns. 

On March 7th, the day started with a presentation by Professor Jonathan Li, representing the University of Waterloo and Scanner. His talk deeply investigated the value of drone-based LiDAR scans in mining for improving safety and mine management. His talk was followed by Anthony da Silva of Suez Sevesc, who presented in partnership with Flyability’s Lucas Senault on the value of drone inspections for improving sewer management and inspections. 

The long-form guest talks ended with an analysis of using the Elios 3 for oil and gas inspections by TEXO’s Divisional Director James Arnott. James touched on the variety of work TEXO does, including inspecting high-rise buildings in London with the Elios 3, before focusing on the drone’s abilities to reach complex environments on offshore oil and gas sites.

UC 2024 - 81 (1)James Arnott of TEXO analyzed the benefits of using drones for oil and gas site inspections

Networking Under the Stars 

All conference attendees were invited to join Flyability for a networking dinner at the beautiful Domaine de la Crausaz. This stunning restaurant is nestled in the world-renowned vineyards alongside Lake Leman - a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, attendees and the Flyability team mingled and shared ideas, and food, and got to test the Elios 3 UT payload in a tailored environment. 

The evening was highlighted by impromptu performances with a harmonica and bagpipes by conference attendees who were ready to thrill the audience. The musical addition made it a truly unforgettable night at the restaurant in the vineyards. 

UC 2024 - 48The networking dinner gave people from around the world the chance to share their experiences with the Ellios

Highlighting the Variety of Industries 

While several attendees took part in optional training with Flyability, the rest remained in the Bambou Atrium of the hotel with Flyability for an exciting event called “the Fishbowl.” This session was meant to be an exhibition of the projects the Elios drones are used for. Short presentations by 6 guest speakers highlighted the range of applications for the Elios - from the most challenging to the most unconventional ways of working. 

The speakers here were: 

  • George Burne, Coptrz, on using the Elios 3 for emergency response after a storm pipe burst in the UK. 
  • Ruben de Lange, Vortex, on inspecting train stations with the Elios 3 in the Netherlands. 
  • Jim Panton, Panton McLeod, on challenging inspections in cleanwater environments and evading contamination concerns with the Elios 3. 
  • Courtland Penk, Osprey Integrity, on a “dam” important project inspecting Taltson Hydro Plant in Canada. 
  • Simon Kumm, InspecDrone, on stock volume measurements inside assets at cement plants to track material quantities. 
  • Robert Heinecke, NIPV (Fire Brigade), had the entire room in laughter describing the use of Elios drones in firefighting - much to the horror of the Flyability team who reminded attendees of the specifications of the Elios (specifically, its unplanned use in extreme heat scenarios.) 

Flyability's Greatest Event to Date! 

The entire User Conference was enjoyed by both attendees and the Flyability team. With over 30 countries represented and dozens of industries discussed, it was a testament to the value of using Elios drones to inspect the most complex environments safely. Together, ideas were shared about the future of Flyability and where the Elios is going next. People in the room had glimpses of upcoming features and developments by Flyability - people not in the room will have to watch our social media and news to see what’s coming next. 

“The point of this event was to gather Elios users from around the world to share ideas and unveil our new payload in person. The excitement in the room was palpable, and we can't wait to see the new payload's impact across sectors. We also had the chance to talk to people using the Elios drones in the field who had ideas and feedback we could use to inspire future development. It was invaluable - and has us wondering when and where we'll host the next User Conference!" - Patrick Thévoz, CEO and co-founder. 

We take this moment to thank everyone for joining us at the User Conference. The event was made special not by the Flyability team but by the incredible people in the room with us (and perhaps, the Elios 3 too…). Flyability could not be the company that we are without the amazing users of the Elios drones, from how they challenge us to think of new ways to use the drone to testing the limits of what it can withstand (with a particular focus on water exposure, it seems). 

UC 2024 - 89 (1)Thank you from the Flyability Team and we'll see you soon! 

We’ll see you at the next event - Flyability is already on the road around the world, and keep an eye out for where you can see the new Elios 3 UT payload near you! 




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