Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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A FLIR Vue Pro camera has been mounted to a DJI Phantom quadcopter. With the ability to add GPS coordinates and flight data, the system can be used more easily for mapping, surveying and precision agriculture.

A FLIR Vue Pro camera has been mounted to a DJI Phantom quadcopter. With the ability to add GPS coordinates and flight data, the system can be used more easily for mapping, surveying and precision agriculture.

Established in 1978, FLIR Systems designs, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes systems for thermal imaging, visible-light imaging, measurements and diagnostics, and advanced threat detection.

The company’s thermal-imaging systems detect the infrared energy (heat) emitted by all people, objects and materials. Such cameras can “see” through darkness, weather and air pollutants such as smoke and haze. Because there is no color in heat images, the temperature data are processed into a maximum of 256 shades of gray to display as thermal images.

“We bring a lot of domain expertise and market leadership in the thermography space,” says Bruce Cumming, marketing director for emerging products at FLIR Systems. “We also have a rich heritage in airborne thermal applications, such as search and rescue, surveillance and law enforcement.”

In recent years, the company has developed small infrared sensors specifically for unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), including the FLIR Vue and newer FLIR Vue Pro sensors.

“This UAS space is sort of a nexus for us, where we bring our thermography experience together with our airborne thermal-imaging experience, and it all lives in this new emerging market,” notes Cumming.

FLIR Vue and FLIR Vue Pro have the same thermal-imaging capabilities (see Specifications Chart, opposite page), but FLIR Vue Pro has added digital recording as well as the ability to collect 14-bit still imagery. In addition, with FLIR Vue Pro, the MicroSD card can be removed, or data can be retrieved via USB cable. And through its MAVLink integration system, information such as GPS coordinates and UAS flight-control information can be added to the data output.

“The FLIR Vue is a downlinked [analog] video system, where you’d need a ground station,” notes Cumming. “FLIR Vue Pro has built-in [digital] data recording onto a MicroSD card in addition to the analog video output. It also includes Bluetooth integration, so you can configure it with a mobile phone.”

Both models are mounted through a simple GoPro mechanism that works with many UAS models. Common applications for both sensors include search and rescue; firefighting; oil and gas; precision agriculture; building, roof, powerline, substation and cell-tower inspections; security surveying and more. Cumming cites solar farms as particularly suitable for thermal inspection.

“There’s these vast solar farms, and you’ve found a fault, but where is that fault?” he asks. “Now that you’ve got GPS data [with thermal imagery], you can pinpoint exactly where that fault is.”

The FLIR Vue camera weighs four ounces or less and captures thermal imagery in spectral bands from 7.5-13.5 micrometers.

The FLIR Vue camera weighs four ounces or less and captures thermal imagery in spectral bands from 7.5-13.5 micrometers.

FLIR Vue Specifications

Overview
Thermal Imager Uncooled VOx Microbolometer
Resolution 640x512 336x256
Lens Options 9 mm; 69° x 56°

13 mm; 45° x 37°

19 mm; 32° x 26°

6.8 mm; 45° x 35°

9 mm; 35° x 27°

13 mm; 25° x 19°

Spectral Band 7.5 - 13.5 μm
Full Frame Rates 30 Hz (NTSC); 25 Hz (PAL)

US only, not for Export

Exportable Frame Rates 7.5 Hz (NTSC); 8.3 Hz (PAL)
Physical Attributes
Size 2.26" x 1.75" (57.4 x 44.4 mm) (including lens)
Weight 3.25-4 oz (92.1 – 113.4 g) (configuration dependent)
Precision Mounting Holes Two M2x0.4 on each of two sides & bottom

One 1/4-20 threaded hole on top

Image Processing & Display Controls
Image Optimization for sUAS Yes
Digital Detail Enhancement Yes - Adjustable in GUI
Invertable Image? Yes - Adjustable in GUI
Polarity Control (black hot/whitehot) & Color Palettes Yes - Adjustable in GUI
Power
Input Supply Voltage 4.0 - 6.0 VDC
Environmental
Operating Temperature Range -20°C to +50°C
Non-Operating Temperature Range -55°C to +95°C
Operational Altitude +40,000 feet

The FLIR Vue Pro camera can be controlled via smartphone over a Bluetooth wireless connection to select color palettes, start and stop recording, and trigger the camera’s e-zoom function.

The FLIR Vue Pro camera can be controlled via smartphone over a Bluetooth wireless connection to select color palettes, start and stop recording, and trigger the camera’s e-zoom function.

FLIR Vue Pro Specifications

Overview
Thermal Imager Uncooled VOx Microbolometer
Resolution 640x512 336x256
Lens Options 9 mm; 69° x 56°

13 mm; 45° x 37°

19 mm; 32° x 26°

6.8 mm; 45° x 35°

9 mm; 35° x 27°

13 mm; 25° x 19°

Spectral Band 7.5 - 13.5 μm
Full Frame Rates 30 Hz (NTSC); 25 Hz (PAL)

US only, not for Export

Exportable Frame Rates 7.5 Hz (NTSC); 8.3 Hz (PAL)
Physical Attributes
Size 2.26" x 1.75" (57.4 x 44.4 mm) (including lens)
Weight 3.25-4 oz (92.1 – 113.4 g) (configuration dependent)
Precision Mounting Holes Two M2x0.4 on each of two sides & bottom

One 1/4-20 threaded hole on top

Image Processing & Display Controls
Image Optimization for sUAS Yes
Digital Detail Enhancement Yes - Adjustable in GUI
Invertable Image? Yes - Adjustable in GUI
Polarity Control (black hot/whitehot) & Color Palettes Yes - Adjustable in GUI
Power
Input Supply Voltage 4.0 - 6.0 VDC
Environmental
Operating Temperature Range -20°C to +50°C
Non-Operating Temperature Range -55°C to +95°C
Operational Altitude +40,000 feet

 

Videos

FLIR Vue Pro

https://youtu.be/f7sE32OMVeI

 

Unboxing, Configuration and Flight Testing

(Roswell Flight Test Crew)

https://youtu.be/VLqQkk9MQEY

https://youtu.be/B9gv6N1bnm4

 

Adapting Thermal Sensors for the Small UAS Market

bit.ly/1NLufAv

 

 

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