Flying the Teledyne SIRAS drone

We recently hosted a fascinating webinar focused on a newcomer to the field: the Teledyne FLIR SIRAS! The conversation was truly engaging, bringing together users, manufacturers, and dealers of this innovative drone. What really made this event unique was that it didn't just focus on the drone's features – though we got plenty of that too – but also shed light on the experiences of the people who are integral to the drone's creation and usage. 

Panelists: Here’s who showed up for the conversation

  • Joseph Grammatico is a sergeant with HPD's Drone unit and supervises a team of six pilots. He has been working with the SIRAS drone since its inception, collaborating with its creators to enhance its capabilities.
  • John Malone works with AEP, a utility company, and leads a team in the Generation sector. He is excited about the SIRAS's IR sensor for inspection services and plans to use it for a solar panel inspection program.
  • Kelly Broadbeck is the product manager for SIRAS at Teledyne FLIR. He discussed the company's transition from collaborating with DJI to developing their own drone. He sees SIRAS as a platform for multiple payloads, expanding its capabilities.
  • Kevin Hale manages channel sales and distribution for SIRAS. He focuses on making the technology easily accessible through local vendors.
  • Randall Warner, the Executive Vice President at DSLR Pros, has extensive industry experience and witnessed the evolution of aerial thermal imaging. He has been involved in the development and distribution of SIRAS.
  • Sahil Bhojwani, who works with DSLR Pros, has been closely involved in the research and development of SIRAS. He recognizes its potential in the market.
  • Greg Nagler, a long-standing team member, played a key role in the launch of the SIRAS drone. He oversaw the transition from DJI to creating their own drone and believes it is crucial for the company's future. He also highlights the benefits of Teledyne's acquisition of FLIR for SIRAS's resources and sales network.

Meet The Teledyne FLIR SIRAS

Now for the juice of it all. What’s the SIRAS all about? Let’s break it down, including titbits and highlights from the webinar. 

Origin and Development of SIRAS

How did SIRAS come to be? Kelly, the creator of SIRAS, tells us that its creation was mainly customer-driven. Folks out there appreciated the payloads that Teledyne FLIR had been making for drones, but they craved something more. This pushed the company to listen to their customers and design a drone that ticks all the boxes - easy to fly, reliable, and cost-effective. Then of crouse there was administration's push against foreign-manufactured drones, bringing about the need for local solutions that deliver  

They aimed to keep it much less expensive than the other blue UAS products out there, while maintaining a secure international supply chain. You'd be glad to know that the drone's name, SIRAS, stands for Secure Infrared Aerial System. A clear nod to the company's commitment to security and infrared legacy!

Key Features and Pricing

The SIRAS doesn't disappoint when it comes to features. Boasting a flight time of 31 minutes, an IP54-rated airframe and controller, front-facing radar for obstacle avoidance, and a 640x512 radiometric thermal/16MP RGB camera with zoom. The SIRAS controller and mission planner have also been designed with simplicity in mind. It's intuitive and user-friendly. Just what you need when you're on a mission, right?

Now, let's talk price. The airframe costs $5,600, while the payload is an additional $4,000. But don't worry - once their new payloads are out, you can grab the drone alone for $5,695. Different payloads will be available at various price points, allowing you to pick the perfect tool for your needs. And for less than $9,700, you get the complete SIRAS package. This includes the airframe controller and the TV 128 EOIR payload. How’s that for a deal?

Size and Portability of SIRAS

One of the first things that strikes you about SIRAS is its size. It's a bit like Goldilocks – not too big, not too small, but just right. In drone terms, it's comfortably nestled between the size of a Phantom and an Inspire. Not as massive as a 350, but still manages to pack a punch.

But don't let the size fool you! Thanks to its smart design and packaging, SIRAS is super easy to transport. You can take it with you on your next flight and tuck it neatly into the overhead compartment. Convenience and portability? Check and check.

Superiority of Teledyne Flir's Cameras

We've got to talk about the camera quality. Now, you might be thinking "All thermal cameras are the same, right?" Well, not exactly. There's a world of difference when it comes to image quality, and Teledyne Flir's cameras are top-tier. Their rigorous quality control ensures crisp, clear images that are leaps and bounds ahead of comparable cameras.

The SIRAS thermal camera particularly delivers in high resolution and radiometric capability. Not to forget the MSX technology that allows you to overlay daytime visuals on thermal images – an exclusive feature to SIRAS. And if you're into zooming, SIRAS packs a punch with its digital zoom capabilities in both visual and thermal spectrums.

Remember, not all 640x512 thermal cameras are created equal. So, when you see this spec on paper, know that Teledyne Flir's cameras are punching above their weight.

Streamlined Workflow and Data Processing

Let's not forget about workflow and data processing. This is where being a FLIR company really pays off. The thermal images SIRAS produces are consistent and easy to work with. If you're already using FLIR handhelds, you're in luck. The images from SIRAS can be processed using the same software, so there's zero disruption for your team. That's what we call seamless integration!

SIRAS Security

SIRAS takes cybersecurity seriously. Your data goes from the drone to the SD card in the drone, and some onto the controller. It's designed not to connect to the cloud or the internet, and you don't even need to create an account! That's some impressive privacy, isn't it? Your data doesn't get out until you decide to take the SD card and put it online yourself.

Payload Options and Ease of Replacement

With the SIRAS you get an EOIR with a boson 640x512 thermal camera paired with a 16MP EO camera. And the best part? You can switch it in about two seconds! It's exciting to think about the range of future payload options that may be available for SIRAS. It's safe to say we're all eagerly awaiting what Teledyne FLIR comes up with next

SIRAS Performance in Various Weather Conditions

- Flying SIRAS in Rain: Rain or shine, SIRAS keeps flying! Users' experiences of flying SIRAS in rain are positive, with reliable operation even under wet conditions - thanks to the IP54 rating.

- SIRAS in Windy Conditions: Don't let its size fool you. SIRAS, handles gusty winds well, especially considering its smaller stature compared to drones like the 300 RTK.

User Experiences and Expectations

So, what do the users think? Take Sergeant Joseph Grammatico for instance. As an active officer, he's seen his fair share of drone use in law enforcement. He told us that for his department, quality imaging is a non-negotiable. After all, there's no use sending up a drone if it can't give you a clear picture of what's going on. That's where SIRAS shines, particularly when it comes to infrared technology. In his words, "We need a drone that's gonna one fit in our vehicles, but also has the power of the camera to be able to detect if it's a person or an air conditioner."

Transitioning from DJI drones to Teledyne FLIR's SIRAS was surprisingly easy for Joseph's team. The controls felt familiar, and the pilots were flying with confidence right off the bat. Joseph commended the ease of use and the quality of the FLIR camera. The cherry on top? SIRAS has obstacle avoidance even at night. No more worrying about crashing into power poles or trees when your drone is farther away. 

Watch him talk about it here:

Application of SIRAS in Renewable Energy and Thermal Imaging

Here, we'll dive into some of the innovative applications of SIRAS, its notable features, and what sets it apart from the crowd.

Use of SIRAS for Solar Inspections

Renewable energy is booming and drones are playing a pivotal role in this expansion, specifically in the solar sector. SIRAS is a game changer when it comes to detecting defects in solar panels. While optical imagery might give you a snapshot of bird droppings or cracks, thermal imaging is the real superhero here, identifying hard-to-spot defects that can affect performance.

Let's be clear, folks. Aerial thermal imaging is THE way to go for solar inspections. It's a pretty clear-cut use case and you can't underestimate the benefits. We're talking serious efficiency gains and top-notch accuracy.

American Electrical Power's Adoption of SIRAS

AEP (American Electrical Power) is an example of a utility giant that recognized the potential of SIRAS. They've been fans of both Flir and Teledyne for a long time, so this partnership was a no-brainer. For AEP, high-quality thermal imaging and radiometric data are non-negotiables, and SIRAS delivers on these fronts.

Thermal camera on Teledyne FLIR SIRASThermal camera on Teledyne FLIR SIRAS


With the energy industry shifting towards renewable energy, AEP is all-in, and SIRAS is playing a crucial role in this transition. They're using it for everything from thermal imaging to monitor the temperature of power lines to solar panel inspections. It's clear: SIRAS is not just a new drone, it's a tool helping drive an industry-wide shift towards sustainability.

The Trustworthiness and Longevity of Teledyne FLIR Brand

Now, let's chat about something that's crucial when choosing a drone – the brand. We're talking trust, reliability, and proven performance. Teledyne FLIR brings all of that to the table. With decades under its belt, this brand has shown time and again that it's there for the long haul.

Moreover, Teledyne FLIR doesn't just make products and leave you to it. Oh no, they're committed to constant evolution and innovation. This means their gear, including the remarkable SIRAS, is consistently upgraded to meet the needs of the times.

The Safety and Security of Investing in Teledyne Flir

Folks, it's not just about buying a drone, it's about making an investment. And with Teledyne Flir, you've got that safety and security. They source their products sustainably for the long-term, so you know they're not going anywhere.

Teledyne Flir stands behind their products, ensuring you don't strand your investment. They're not just selling you a product, they're partnering with you on a journey.

Unique Open Line of Communication with Customers

One of the key aspects that sets Teledyne FLIR apart from other drone manufacturers is its commitment to fostering a direct line of communication with end users. Kelly, the decision-maker responsible for new developments, actively seeks and values direct feedback from customers. This real-time adaptation approach creates a unique experience for SIRAS drone users.

Influence of User Feedback on Product Development

Customer feedback plays a crucial role in shaping Teledyne FLIR's product roadmap. The manufacturer understands the importance of creating products that people actually want, offering the right mix of features at the correct price point. Passionate customers have a significant impact on Teledyne FLIR's prioritization of features and improvements.

Examples of Influential Feedback

Let's take a look at some examples of payload features currently in development due to user feedback. Teledyne FLIR has taken into account suggestions such as gas detectors, LiDAR technology, fancy lights, and improved zoom capabilities. These features are a direct response to user demands, and the company is actively working on integrating them into future iterations of the SIRAS drone.

Teledyne FLIR's Responsive Beta Testing Process

Teledyne FLIR takes pride in its beta testing process, which involves a wide network of testers operating in various environmental conditions. This extensive testing ensures crucial product improvements. The company values the input of its beta testers who have been with them since the early stages of SIRAS development. Their valuable feedback helps shape and refine the drone's capabilities.

Product Demonstrations and Hands-On Experience

To truly understand the capabilities of the Teledyne FLIR SIRAS, firsthand experience is vital. Teledyne FLIR recognizes the significance of hands-on experience in convincing potential users of the drone's capabilities. The company is actively working to expand opportunities for experiential testimonies, allowing interested individuals to see the SIRAS drone in action and witness its advanced features.

The Future of SIRAS

So, where does SIRAS go from here? Teledyne FLIR is all about continual improvement. With a customer support and partnership mindset, they're always looking for ways to improve the SIRAS, keeping it at the top of its game.

End User Feature Requests

The voice of end users is of utmost importance to Teledyne FLIR. For instance, with this webinar Sergeant Joseph Grammatico and AEP's John Malone have provided valuable feedback on desired features. Their requests include mission programmability, enhanced controller visibility, compatibility with asset management software, improved zoom and daytime camera clarity, GPS acquisition, and an integrated strobe for better aerial visibility. Teledyne FLIR takes these requests seriously and is actively considering them for future development.

SIRAS's Future Developments

Teledyne FLIR envisions a continuous evolution for the SIRAS drone. The company is committed to enhancing the feature set of SIRAS based on user needs. This includes increasing zoom capabilities and providing more processing power while ensuring backward and forward compatibility with existing SIRAS models. Teledyne FLIR is dedicated to delivering an exceptional product experience to its customers.

Expansion to International Markets

Teledyne FLIR is currently going through the certification process to make SIRAS available outside the United States. The company is focused on meeting the specific regulations and requirements of different regions, starting with the European Union (EU). The EU certification process ensures that SIRAS complies with safety and operational standards, enabling Teledyne FLIR to expand its presence and offer SIRAS to international customers.

Evolving Feature Set

Teledyne FLIR is committed to continuously enhancing the feature set of SIRAS. User needs, such as increased zoom capabilities and more processing power, are at the forefront of the company's development efforts. Teledyne FLIR aims to strike a healthy balance between technological advancements and ensuring compatibility with existing SIRAS models. The company's commitment to backward and forward compatibility ensures that customers can benefit from future improvements without rendering their current systems obsolete.

Confirmed: Upcoming Remote ID Feature

Something exciting is on the horizon! SIRAS is gearing up for an upcoming remote ID feature. The drone already has all the necessary hardware in place. It's just about complying with FAA regulations and activating the feature with a firmware update. Stay tuned for this exciting new addition!

Roadmap for Third-party Integrations

Teledyne FLIR is working on APIs for communication between SIRAS and external software programs. Priorities are set, with Pix4D leading the way, followed by DroneSense and Flir Thermal Studio.

Commitment to User Satisfaction

In conclusion, Teledyne FLIR is dedicated to offering products with excellent capabilities at a great price. The company's commitment to user satisfaction is evident in its approach to continually updating the SIRAS drone based on user feedback and needs. Teledyne FLIR values customer input and actively incorporates it into the development and improvement of the SIRAS drone, ensuring a customer-centric experience throughout the product's lifespan.

Building a Strong Relationship with Users and Future Directions

A Unique Manufacturer-Reseller Relationship

Teledyne FLIR SIRAS has formed a unique working relationship with its master distributors, as Kevin and Sahil attested to in the webinar. By working directly with both FLIR and end-users, they've brought a unique perspective to the table. This direct line of communication is helping FLIR understand specific user needs and respond swiftly to feedback. That's how FLIR is making sure their drones are a perfect fit for what the customers need.

The master distributor acts as a feedback hub, enabling FLIR to make improvements based on a broader range of user experiences. The current structure enables faster product improvements and a more direct line of communication between FLIR and its users. It's like having a dedicated suggestions box that FLIR checks every day.

Legal Regulations and Market Development

Legal regulations may potentially speed up the adoption of SIRAS. As more regions are expected to develop drone regulations similar to those in Florida, FLIR is preparing to adapt. Trials and user feedback are pivotal to ensure SIRAS remains useful and relevant across various regions and use cases. It's a dynamic market out there, and FLIR is staying nimble.

Emphasis on After-sales Support

After-sales support is one of FLIR's key pillars for the success of SIRAS. When a drone is sold, that's where FLIR's real job starts. They're committed to their users beyond the initial sale, and with FLIR's backing, they're able to deliver strong after-sales support. So, once you become a FLIR customer, you're in good hands!

NDAA Compliance and Cybersecurity

Teledyne FLIR stands firm on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) compliance. SIRAS, despite being a commercial product, doesn't source components from certain restricted Chinese companies as per the NDAA's guidelines. It's commercial yet secure!

- Cybersecurity Commitment: The SIRAS drone takes cybersecurity, data security, and identity security seriously. Its design doesn't allow internet or cloud connectivity, ensuring robust data security for all users.

- Blue UAS and Green Listing: Teledyne FLIR's focus on maintaining the SIRAS's security and affordability is commendable. The company opted against pursuing Blue UAS certification to keep costs down, while still providing top-notch security.