Thermal imagery allows us to see the world in a whole new way. Heat signatures that are emitted by human bodies, fires, and other sources of warmth stand out from cooler backgrounds, which allow us to identify subjects we would not otherwise be able to see.
Search and Rescue drones equipped with thermal imaging help first responders identify the location of people lost in chaotic scenes, and police departments have started using drones with thermal capabilities to identify the location of suspects while keeping an infrared eye on their officers.
Fire departments have started to use thermal drones to identify patches of fire that are obscured behind clouds of dark smoke, and the use of infrared has increased hose efficiency while lowering the chances that people are left behind in fire zones.
There are also numerous commercial uses, like checking homes or buildings for sources of excess heat, or scanning solar panels for malfunctioning units. In these cases, thermography has helped save businesses and individuals thousands upon thousands of dollars.
LIST: 5 BEST infrared drone for sale :
5. FLIR DUO – THERMAL CAMERA FOR DRONES WITH GOPRO GIMBAL
Flir Duo is a much cheaper alternative to other IR cameras for drones featured in this article. It is not nearly as expensive as other models on this list, but still performs solidly across the board. It features a dual-sensor mechanism that enables you to view thermal and visible light images of decent quality. When I say decent I really mean so – Flir Duo doesn’t provide the best image quality on the market. With that in mind don’t expect to do any professional-level work that requires extreme precision on it as it will most likely be an issue.
As the name suggests, this camera features two sensors, one for thermal imagery and one for full-color one. The latter offers a solid FHD image and video quality and can even output picture in picture effects in combination with its thermal counterpart. You can also set up 2 camera functions that will work via PWM and enable you to have close control of your camera no matter the distance. When it comes to I/O, Flir Duo supports mini USB, microSD for onboard recording and mini HDMI, so it’s safe to say there are no drawbacks here.
So, with everything taken into play, if you are looking to play around with a thermal camera powered drone, Flir Duo is the one you should check out. It is user-friendly (much more so than others in this list), doesn’t require a demanding setup and best of all, it’s cheap! You’ll be happy when you hear Flir Duo can fit into your GoPro drone gimbal ! Keep in mind there is an R version of Flir Duo which incorporates additional features in the form of a full radiometric system that ensures pixel-perfect temperature measurements for the most demanding of tasks.SHOW ME THE BEST PRICE FROM: AMAZON
4. FLIR VUE 336 9MM
This top 5 list consists of 4 Flir thermal cameras. This just proves their magnificent effort in bringing drones and thermal imagery closer together. Truth be told, they’ve made it quite far with a wide selection of their Vue models which are able to greatly help UAVs to become state-of-the-art thermal inspection workforce. Keep in mind that this is a trimmed-down version of a fully-fledged Flir Vue Pro which adds extra functionality such as MAVLink support and PWM controls. But, it is significantly cheaper too which might be a “buy” factor for some of you.
Starting off with the imager, you are looking at the standard Uncooled Vox Microbolometer. It is finely poised with a 336 x 256 resolution. While that is extremely low for today’s standard, when it comes to thermal imagery it is somewhere in the mid-tier area. Sure, there are many higher definition thermal cameras out there, but Flir Vue is extremely lightweight (roughly 100 grams depending on your configuration) and can be mounted in multiple ways. That’s because it sports two m2x0.4 holes on the bottom along with a 1/4-20 threaded one on top which makes mounting rather easy.
With all that being said, even though it doesn’t have that shiny Pro suffix, Flir Vue 336 9mm is still a great thermal camera that can do a fair share of work. If you don’t need extra features such as MAVLink support for geo-tagging and automated imagery or PWM in-flight controls, then there is no real need to up the price and go for the Pro version. On the other hand, if radiometry and those features are a must, then I guess Flir Vue 336 9mm just can’t cut it.SHOW ME THE BEST PRICE FROM: AMAZON
3. FLIR VUE PRO 640 19MM
Much like the best-infrared camera for drone on this list (the #1), Flir Vue 640 19mm has basically the same characteristics. As the name suggests, it has 640 x 512 resolution packed together with a 19mm lens that has 32’ x 24 and 32’ x 26’ field of view, depending on the circumstances and your adjustments. So, based on this introduction, it is clear that Flir Vue Pro brings a few incremental improvements over the standard version; not just in terms of resolution but additional features as well.
Moving forward, it is also notable to say that this camera records video in 30hz as well. This is excellent news for people who need constant and accurate temperature sensing in a certain area. When it comes to Bluetooth and other functionalities including PWM controls, onboard video/image recording and so on, Flir Vue Pro does not fail to deliver. As I have already stated above, it features everything just like the Flir Vue Pro R with the exception of radiometric technology.
For those of you who don’t know what that is, there is a thorough explanation down below. For now, I will just state that it essentially allows the camera to pick up additional data revolving around temperatures in captured frames. It is much more complicated than that so make sure you read the explanation down below. With that said, I believe there’s nothing more to add here except perhaps that this camera comes in several different lens sizes depending on your desired FOV. Everything else has been said and I can assure you Flir doesn’t mess around when it comes to creating top-flight thermal cameras.SHOW ME THE BEST PRICE FROM: AMAZON
2. YUNEEC YUNCGOETUS THERMAL CAMERA AND GIMBAL
We are starting things off with a thermal camera made by a popular drone manufacturer – Yuneec. First things first, this is definitely a high-end thermal camera with a price to match it. True, there are more premium options out there (such as the last thermal camera on our list) but Yuneec’s model is pretty solid too. When it comes to the main features, YUNCGOETUS features dual sensors, lowlight, IR together with an integrated gimbal. Best of all, it is able to seamlessly and simultaneously record infrared and FHD standard videos.
When it comes to drone support, this little fella can be mounted on Yuneec’s flagship Typhoon H. The setup is rather simple and intuitive leaving no room for errors. I almost forgot to mention that YUNCGOETUS features several different color palettes that will allow better visualization of heat sources that what is usually the case. All things in mind, if you own Yuneec Typhoon H and you’d like to pair it up with a wicked thermal camera, it does not get any better than this one.SHOW ME THE BEST PRICE FROM: AMAZON
1. FLIR VUE PRO R 640 19MM —> ULTIMATE INFRARED CAMERA FOR DRONE
If any of you guys reading this is thinking about starting their own thermal inspection company, then take notes since this camera is surely number 1 for drone IR imagery out there. Flir Vue Pro comes in several different versions but today we will be focusing on the best one – Flir Vue Pro 640 19mm with Radiometric properties. When you take a look at the price this bad boy goes for, everything will become much clearer to you.
Before jumping to a thorough explanation, let’s first digest its name. Flir Vue Pro R (R stands for Radiometric) 640 (stands for 640×512 resolution) 19mm (lens size). Now that we have that covered, I’d like to start off by saying that this is probably the most advanced thermal camera for sUAVs currently available for purchase. This is because, for the first time ever, Flir implemented Radiometric technology in one of their thermal cameras. What is that for? Well, radiometric technology allows this camera to effectively detect and read temperature data with pinpoint precision. Now, some of you might be wondering isn’t this what all thermal cameras do? Well, not really. You see… Standard thermal cameras only have IR sensors that can distinguish different temperatures and differentiate them through different color palettes or adjustable temperature filters. On the other hand, Flir Vue Pro R gives out precise temperature readings of each pixel in the frame (yes, you read this correctly), giving you a massive amount of data at disposal.
As is the case with other Flir Vue models, the Pro R also supports onboard video and image storage. More precisely, it can capture MJPEG and H.-264 video formats as well as 14-bit images to a microSD card located onboard. Continuing with the features, it is also notable to add MAVLink compatibility for automated imagery and geo-tagging. PWM commands are present as well. You’ll be able to control color palettes, recordings and even zoom ratio on your camera far away from the action. Moving forward, Flir Vue Pro R 640 19mm uses Uncooled Vox Microbolometer as its thermal imager and effectively outputs 640×512 max resolution. As you can see, this model comes with a 19mm lens and has 32’ x 26’ FOV for full sensor digital output and 32’ x 24’ for NTSC analog output. Last but not least, this IR camera records 30Hz videos. While that number might seem low for some of you at first, when you take into consideration the fact that this is data-embedded thermal imagery, you’ll realize just how much 30Hz really is…
All things considered, there is no doubt this Flir Vue Pro R 640 19mm is, at the moment, the best deal for all IR inspection companies and virtually any type of work that demands pixel-perfect thermal readings. When combined with Flir apps (yes, it can communicate with iOS and Android apps via built-in Bluetooth module), it is capable of delivering extraordinary amounts of data together with a fully-fledged thermal report for each and every pixel you recorded on the removable microSD card.SHOW ME THE BEST PRICE FROM: AMAZON