Night-vision drones could come to the rescue

Image: Drones
DJI says the thermal-imaging Zenmuse XT camera can go on its Inspire 1 and Matrice M100 drones.

One of the world’s best-known drone manufacturers, DJI, has partnered with one of the world’s best-known infrared imaging companies, FLIR Systems, to create thermal-imaging cameras for aerial vehicles.

But don’t expect to take your DJI Phantom out for night-vision flights anytime soon: These cameras are designed for higher-end drones and specialized applications. And besides, the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t cleared drones for routine nighttime flying.

he cameras coming out of the collaboration between China-based DJI and Oregon-based FLIR are more likely to be used during the day – for example, to help firefighters see through smoke, to help farmers monitor crop health from above, or to assist in search-and-rescue operations. Infrared imaging is particularly well-suited for those applications, day or night.

And sure, if law enforcement agents are looking for the bad guys after dark, thermal-imaging drones can come in handy. Night-vision aerial imagery, conducted using a camera-equipped helicopter, played a crucial role in capturing Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: