Flyability’s Elios used to explore some of the deepest ice caves in the world

Flyability’s drone technology helps scientists reach the depths of some of the deepest ice caves in the world in Greenland.

September 11, 2020 –A new video created by Swisscom Ventures highlights a research expedition sponsored by Moncler to explore the deepest ice caves in the world using Flyability’s Elios drone.

The expedition was sponsored by apparel company Moncler and took place over two weeks in 2018 on the Greenland ice sheet, the second largest body of ice in the world after Antarctica. Research focused on an area about 80 kilometers east of Kangerlussuaq, where scientists wanted to study the movement of water deep underground to better understand the effects of climate change on the melting ice.

In a past expedition, scientists were only able to repel to a depth of about 130 meters within the giant vertical ice shafts (called moulins) that led to the underground rivers they wanted to study. On this expedition scientists used the Elios, Flyability’s collision-tolerant drone, to reach the very bottom of the moulins and learn more about the movement of the water and the shape and stability of the ice shafts.

“Entering a moulin that runs 300 meters deep is very dangerous, especially when the conditions farther down within the shaft are unknown,” says Flyability Product Manager Geoffroy le Pivain, who helped organize the mission. “Thanks to its collision-tolerance and other features we’ve developed to help inspectors fly in challenging indoor environments, the Elios presented a unique solution for explorers to reach the bottom of the moulin.”

The mission was led by Francesco Sauro, Professor of Planetary Geology and Exploration at the University of Bologna. He was supported by a team of world-renowned geologists, glaciologists, speleologists, geographers, biologists, and Arctic explorers. 

In the same part of Greenland where the mission was made, French speleologist Janot Lamberton achieved the deepest ice cave descent ever in 1996, travelling to a depth of 202 meters. Due to climate change, the caves have become too unpredictable since that time to attempt another deep descent. Using the Elios, which was designed for inspections in confined spaces, researchers were able to reach the bottom of one of the moulins, where they discovered a lake on the icy floor.

“At Flyability, scientific discovery and exploration are dear to our hearts,” says Flyability Co-Founder and CTO Adrien Briod. “The core focus of our work is on creating indoor inspection solutions to replace the need for people to enter dangerous, confined spaces. But we also want to help expand the boundaries of human knowledge by accessing places that couldn’t otherwise be reached, and the Greenland expedition really showcases that aspect of our work.”

About Moncler

Moncler was founded at Monestier-de-Clermont, Grenoble, France, in 1952 and is currently headquartered in Italy. Over the years the brand has combined style with constant technological research assisted by experts in activities linked to the world of the mountain. The Moncler outerwear collections marry the extreme demands of nature with those of city life. In 2003, Remo Ruffini took over the company, of which he is currently Chairman and CEO. Moncler manufactures and directly distributes the clothing and accessories collections under the brand Moncler through its boutiques and in exclusive international department stores and multi-brand outlets.

About Swisscom

Swisscom Ventures is the venture capital arm of Swisscom AG, the leading telecom and ICT provider in Switzerland. Since 2007, they have invested in over 60 technology companies from their offices in Switzerland (Zurich and Bern) and the USA (Silicon Valley). They invest in 6-8 new companies every year representing a total volume of $30-50m p.a. As a strategic investor, they offer entrepreneurs access to their technical infrastructure and market channels in addition to financial support.

About Flyability

Flyability is a Swiss company building solutions for the inspection and exploration of indoor, inaccessible, and confined spaces. By allowing drones to be used safely inside buildings, it enables industrial companies and inspection professionals to reduce downtime, inspection costs, and risks to workers. With hundreds of customers in over 50 countries in Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Maritime, Infrastructures & Utilities, and Public Safety, Flyability has pioneered and continues to lead the innovation in the commercial indoor drone space.

More information on / @fly_ability