A Comprehensive Breakdown of What ‘The Commercial UAV Show 2016’ Had to Offer Search and Rescue – Part 5

THE BATTLE OF THE THERMALS:

Please note: the technical term for drones – ‘unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)’ – will be used throughout this blog post.

This section takes all of the crucial components that influence a thermal imaging camera’s performance – as mentioned in the previous section – and compares them throughout the thermal cameras that were on display at The Commercial UAV Show 2016 relative to the search and rescue (SAR) sector. Other factors that directly influence decisions for thermal cameras specific to SAR unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), such as weight, have also been included into the competition.

Please note: The use of “N/A” does not indicate that the product does or does not have this quality, it indicates that no literature or information publicly available highlights it, and – in most cases – individual contact regarding the specific topic has been attempted, but to no avail.

ROUND 1 – DETECTOR RESOLUTION:

detector-resolution-title

The higher the detection resolution, the more accurate the camera.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

resolution

Scoreboard:

round1

ROUND 2 – THERMAL SENSITIVITY (NETD):

thermal-sensitivity-title

The lower the NETD, the better the sensitivity.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

sensitivity

Scoreboard:

round2

ROUND 3 – TEMPERATURE EFFECTIVE RANGE:

temp-range-title

A thermal camera with a limited temperature range could suffer from a “white out” when exposed to high temperatures – very similar to an overexposed photograph; you simply lose all definition and detail. A broader temperature effective range will increase its potential in SAR operations, especially with regards to Fire & Rescue Services.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

temperature-range

Scoreboard:

round3

ROUND 4 – TEMPERATURE GAUGE:

temp-gauge-title

The larger the temperature range, the higher the NETD (worse sensitivity). Therefore, the inclusion of a temperature gauge can lower the range and enhance the sensitivity.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

temperature-gauge

Scoreboard:

round4

ROUND 5 – PIXEL PITCH:

pixel-pitch-title

The smaller the pixel pitch, the more image detail you’ll get.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

pixel-pitch

Scoreboard:

round5

ROUND 6 – ACCURACY:

accuracy-title

The lower the accuracy specification, the lower the margin of error.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

accuracy

Scoreboard:

round6

ROUND 7 – PICTURE-IN-PICTURE (PiP) IMAGING:

picture-in-picture-title

This feature, as explained in the previous section, will add to the clarity of the data being collected. Thermography data isn’t always instantly intuitive; a visual reference will expedite your understanding of the feedback being displayed.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

pip

Scoreboard:

round7

ROUND 8 – WEATHER TOLERANCE:

weather-title

There is no point in having a fully weatherproof UAV if the payload – the most expensive part, in most cases – cannot withstand the same weather conditions. A high weather tolerance is just as important for the thermal camera as it is for the UAV.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

weather

* IP67 = Dust tight and protected for immersion of up to 1 metre

** IP53 = Dust protected and tolerant to spraying water

Scoreboard:

round8

ROUND 9 – ADVERSARIAL COMPATIBILITY:

ad-comp-title

Adversarial compatibility is a technology term that outlines whether or not a product can be integrated with another, i.e. whether a thermal camera can be used on any UAV that can carry its weight or a thermal camera that is restricted to only one UAV. Adversarial compatibility will give you more flexibility on the UAV you choose to match with the payload.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

adv-comp

Scoreboard:

round9

ROUND 10 – WEIGHT:

weight-title

Special permission is required to operate a UAV over 7kg – on top of the standard permission for commercial operations (PfCO). A heavier payload would require the motors to be more powerful, which in turn would require a bigger battery. Therefore, UAVs often have strict weight constraints for payloads in order not to exceed the critical 7kg weight limit. The lighter the thermal camera, the less likely it will restrict the choices of UAV that it can be matched with.

The outlined square indicates the winner(s) for that section of the round.

weight

Scoreboard:

round10

RESULTS:

final-results

Congratulations Workswell on your win with the WIRIS 640!

Next Section ->

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If you have anything to add or questions to ask or recommendations for future research blog posts, please don’t hesitate to use the comment section below. AND don’t forget to email subscribe, so you’re always up-to-date with the world of SAR UAVs!

REFERENCES:

All references are located on the Introduction page.

IMAGE SOURCES:

All image sources are located on the Introduction page.

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