Thermal Drones are saving lives. Freezing night-time winter temperatures make manned search extremely difficult. Drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras such as the DJI Matrice 210 drone with a Zenmuse XT thermal FLIR camera gives thermal eyes in the sky for police and first responders. Thermal drones are becoming increasingly common among public safety agencies and for good reason, a single drone operator can scan large areas of hard to reach land to find people in the darkest of night. A Lincolnshire UK man who crashed his car in freezing night-time temperatures was found by police using a thermal imaging drone. Infrared equipped thermal UAVs give officers a quick and reliable way of scanning an area for signs of life without the need for a large expensive manned aircraft. An aerial unmanned vehicle provides a unique perspective from an assessment platform that is unaffected by ground conditions and obstructions.
Our Customers Matrice 210 drone with a Zenmuse XT infrared camera saved a life!
Officials from the Moore County sheriff’s office saved a missing 11-year-old with their recently purchased Matrice 210 infrared drone from DSLRPros. With a family worried about their missing daughter, the Moore County Sheriff’s office had just the tool they needed to start the search. With setup and deployment only taking minutes the thermal and zoom camera drone quickly took flight. After scanning the area around the residence, the police picked up a thermal signature near a tree across the highway. Officials then went to the area and found the missing girl asleep under a tree. Although she was found only about 15 minutes from her house, she was still missing. With how quickly a thermal drone can be put into the air and scan large areas of land, this technology provided a fast efficient way of scanning the area before additional resources were required.
How do thermal imaging drones work?
First off, we must examine how thermal imaging works. Infrared energy is generated by the vibration of atoms and molecules. All objects (above absolute zero) emit infrared energy as a function of its temperature. The higher the temperature of an object, the faster its molecules and atoms move. Thermal imaging is the use of special infrared camera sensors to illuminate a spectrum of light invisible to the naked eye. An array of infrared detector elements read the incoming wavelengths and frequency which is then processed into a visible thermal image. The thermal image can be processed to highlight different aspect of a scene. Typical go color pallets for search and rescue are black hot and white hot as it shows the greatest contrast between the hottest and coldest heat-emitting sources in a scene. Thermal cameras used to be large heavy devices with low resolution. Now, these thermal cameras are small enough to fit into a compact size capable of being attached to a drone. Drone manufacturer DJI even works with thermal camera manufacturer, FLIR to make a fully integrated solution. This allows for thermal cameras to be easily attached to DJI Drones, giving users easy plug and play capabilities to use this type of imaging in the field.
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