In the view of experts and enterprises, one of the most important attributes of drones is their versatility. A drone is essentially a moving canvas that can be enhanced with a variety of sensors and data collection equipment, allowing even a single drone to serve several purposes.
Thermal imaging photography is still a niche application for drones, given the high cost and technological demands of the hardware. It can, however, be a very lucrative area for a drone pilot to try. What is thermal imaging and what facilities will drone pilots provide with this technology?
Applications of drone-based thermal imaging
Thermal imaging photography is a highly specialized subset of specialist drone services, but it is still one of the most profitable. Here are some of the most popular uses for drone-based thermal imaging photography to demonstrate how useful it can be.
- Rescue and search operations
One of the most valuable techniques for search and rescue operations is aerial support. This was normally accomplished with a helicopter before drones. Helicopters have the disadvantage of being very costly and taking a long time to be cleared to fly.
Given the importance of time in such situations, the fact that a drone can be deployed and cover a lot of ground in a few minutes is certainly crucial. With a thermal camera, a drone can commence search and rescue operations even in darkness or in other conditions that make visibility challenging (fog, snow, etc.).
- Firefighting drones
Before and during major firefighting operations, firefighters have begun to use drones equipped with thermal cameras. Doing a fast aerial survey of the region during the preparation process helps firefighters to devise a fire-fighting strategy. After the bulk of the fire has been extinguished, another aerial survey will be used to locate areas that are still smoldering and may become massive fires in the future.
- Inspection of towers and power lines
One of the most significant roles a drone pilot may have is inspecting vital infrastructure including communications towers and power lines. Drones are particularly useful for such tasks because of their ability to cover large distances quickly and provide a unique aerial perspective.
Drones and thermal imaging photography are powerful combinations that the military has used for surveillance for decades. This is still true today, particularly with smaller drones with improved transmission technology and the ability to fly autonomously.
- Inspection of a solar farm
Solar farms can be a logistical challenge because they can cover the same amount of land as agricultural farms but have far more equipment to inspect and maintain. Inspection runs with a drone equipped with a thermal camera have become a popular solution to this problem.