What is Aerial Thermal Imaging?

September 13

Combined with modern sensors and high-definition imaging technologies, drones have come to play a critical role in industries all over the world. Thermal imaging cameras are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment used by drone operators, providing vital information for construction, engineering, agriculture and surveying projects.

Using special sensors to detect heat levels in objects, thermal imaging drones are an excellent tool for finding flaws, improving efficiencies and collecting information that’s critical to the success of your project. To explore the technology further, we’re going to discuss how drone thermal imaging works and where it’s being applied in the real world.


What is Thermal Imaging?

Modern drone thermal imaging devices use specialised sensors to detect the infrared radiation being emitted by objects and environments. Infrared radiation is emitted by all objects under normal circumstances. And, while it’s invisible to the naked eye, humans can recognise infrared energy as heat. The more infrared radiation being emitted by an object, the hotter it is.

Thermal imaging cameras work by detecting and measuring the energy being released. The data collected by the sensor is converted into electronic pictures that show the surface temperature of the objects being imaged.


How are Thermal Imaging Drones Used?

Infrared sensors are one of the most versatile tools in use by modern surveying teams. Combined with commercial-grade drone technology, thermal imaging sensors can be deployed to assess and capture data on large structures or across vast areas, supplying the information that decision-makers need to plan projects.

Aerial thermal imaging has a wide array of applications, including:

  • Leak detection. Leaks in water, sewer and gas lines can be difficult to detect, especially if the pipes are hidden underground or behind walls. Thermal imaging drones can be used to detect the temperature changes that occur around leaks and locate the source of ruptures and other damage.

  • Inspecting solar panels. Solar panel arrays have the potential to power the future of our planet, but build-ups of heat decrease the efficiency of panels and can cause costly damage. Aerial thermal imaging can be used to rapidly inspect and detect failed solar cells in panels.

  • Aerial mapping. Infrared sensors play an important role in drone aerial mapping, supplying vital thermal information to support project planning.

  • Heat mapping and inspections. Drones can be used to map large structures and vast areas, providing detailed heat maps to support project analysis.

  • Agricultural applications. Already employed in a range of agricultural applications, drones equipped with thermal imaging sensors are used to inspect crop health, plan aerial spraying and increase yields.

  • Emergency applications. Aerial thermal imaging technology is employed widely by emergency responders. Capable of operating in smoky, hazy and low-light conditions, aerial thermal imaging drones supply critical information for executing search and rescue operations.


The Benefits of Aerial Thermal Imaging

Drones are a major leap forward in imaging and surveying technologies. Suitable for rapidly deploying and collecting critical data, aerial thermal imaging drones offer a few key benefits:

  • Cost-effective. Aerial thermal imaging only requires a small amount of manual labour, making drone surveying services a highly cost-effective solution.
  • Rapid turnaround. Drones are quick to deploy and can rapidly cover large areas to collect mission-critical information.

  • Precision information. Aerial imaging provides precision data with millimetre-accuracy, making it ideal for a range of construction and engineering applications.

  • Capable of locating invisible defects. Thermal imaging sensors detect infrared radiation that’s invisible to the naked eye.

  • Easy access to difficult locations. Drones are ideal for accessing difficult or remote locations that would be impractical for ground teams to reach or perform drone farm mapping.


Need Aerial Thermal Imaging for Your Next Project?

Thermal imaging sensors are an invaluable tool for construction, engineering, surveying and aerial emergency response. Our CASA certified operators can be available when and where you need them, offering cost-effective aerial thermal imaging to power your next project. To find out more about our thermal imaging services, you can contact us online today.

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