Fire prevention

Thermal Drones Application in firefighting and other industries

Thermal drones are critical instruments for a safer future

Thermography allows for the detection of temperature distribution on a surface by identifying the infrared radiation emitted from it. This analytical technique, when combined with drones, significantly broadens their application range.

What are thermal drones

A thermal drone like the FH-0 is at the forefront of merging aerial technology and thermal detection. Unlike a traditional drone, which merely offers an aerial perspective through a standard camera, a drone equipped with a thermal camera goes far beyond: it can accurately highlight temperature differences in a specific area.

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Resistance and lightness: the EPP material

This unique feature not only enhances overhead observational capabilities but also introduces a broad spectrum of professional applications. These drones are used in applications ranging from energy inspections to wildlife research, from detailed structural analysis to environmental monitoring, thereby transforming how we perceive and interpret the world around us.

Thermal drones for firefighting, how they use thermography

Detection of minimal thermal variations

In critical scenarios such as fires, thermal drones, like the FireHound model, are indispensable. They employ thermography to detect minimal thermal variations, facilitating timely and targeted interventions. In a large forested area, a thermal anomaly could serve as an early warning signal of a budding fire, potentially imperceptible to the human eye because it is not yet producing smoke.

thermal drones detection
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Early detection of a fire

Thermography, through these devices, not only allows for early detection but also provides a clear and detailed view of the evolution of an active fire. Rescuers, aided by information from the drones, can analyze the fire dynamics: where flames are spreading rapidly, and which areas might be at imminent risk.

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Optimization of intervention strategies

With this invaluable data, firefighting teams can optimize their intervention strategies, directing resources in the most effective manner possible. Thermography thus becomes a vital tool, with thermal drones like the FireHound enhancing its effectiveness by leveraging the advanced technology of FLIR cameras, pioneers in the field of thermal detection.

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Temperature vs Thermography, basic principles of thermal drones

Although often used interchangeably, temperature and thermography represent two distinct concepts.

TEMPERATURE

THERMOGRAPHY

Thermography, on the other hand, goes further: it is a technique that maps temperature variations on a surface, producing thermal images that display a distribution of temperature values.

Thermal drones employ this technique to generate these thermal maps from above

Thermal drones electromagnetic spectrum

What are thermal cameras and what are they used for

Thermal cameras are devices designed to capture and display infrared radiation, a form of energy emitted by objects based on their temperature. Unlike traditional cameras that capture visible light, thermal cameras translate infrared radiation into a thermal image. This reveals temperature differences, enabling the uncovering of details hidden to the human eye.

These devices find applications in various sectors:

Construction

Building inspectors use them to identify thermal leakages or insulation flaws.

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Medicine

Doctors employ them to observe temperature variations in the body, which can indicate medical conditions.

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Law enforcement and military

They use them for nighttime operations or in low-visibility conditions.

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Industry

Thermal drones are used for monitoring and maintaining equipment, revealing hotspots that may indicate imminent failure

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Nature

They are perfect for non-invasive fauna studies, particularly at night.

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The basics of firefighting drones with thermal cameras

Range

MAXIMUM DISTANCE

Range determines the maximum distance a drone can operate from its pilot or command station. Extensive range is crucial for covering vast areas, especially in the context of wildfires. Our FH-0 model, for instance, has a radio range of around 10km and features a redundant link based on LTE technology that essentially allows virtually unlimited connectivity.

Thermal

SENSITIVITY

Thermal sensitivity represents the smallest temperature variation that a thermal camera can detect. This precision, on the order of a few millikelvin, enables identification of minor heat differences, crucial in firefighting contexts. The sensor onboard the FH-0 has a thermal sensitivity <50 mK.

Field of

VIEW

The field of view indicates the total area that the thermal camera can “see” in a single shot or video. A broad field of view is essential for quickly covering extensive areas, whereas a narrower field can provide more precise details about a specific area. For our device, we have chosen a FOV of 57° to achieve a ground cone width of around 130m (flying at 120m) and an hourly coverage of approximately 520 hectares (flying at 40km/h).

Image

RESOLUTION

Image resolution is crucial for the clarity and definition of the thermal images. Our drone hosts a sensor with a resolution of 160×120, which, adeptly processed by our onboard computer software, enables the identification of fires with extreme precision.

Spectral

BAND

The spectral band refers to the range of wavelengths of infrared radiation that the thermal camera can detect. Our thermal camera is optimized for detecting heat sources in the long-wave infrared spectrum, namely from 8 µm to 14 µm.

On board

PROCESSIN-G

The most distinctive aspect of FH-0 is its onboard processing of thermal images. Although easily configurable to display the thermal feed to the operator, we have opted to have the onboard computer process the data directly, sending the operator only notifications or warnings. This is because the primary objective is to free up the operator to focus on notifications and use the onboard full-HD video camera for a clear and detailed view of the field situation.

What are the main factors influencing heat detection

Atmospheric conditions

Factors such as humidity, rain, fog or smoke can interfere with thermal readings. Humidity, for instance, can reflect or absorb infrared radiation, affecting heat perception.

Reflectance of materials

Different materials reflect infrared radiation in many ways. For example, metallic materials may reflect surrounding heat sources, potentially leading to inaccurate readings.

Camera angle

The angle at which the thermal camera is oriented towards the heat source can influence the reading. A direct angle can yield more precise results than oblique angles.

Distance from the source

Temperature variations

Rapid temperature changes in the observation area can pose challenges in interpretation, especially if the variation occurs over a short time.

The benefits of thermal drones in firefighting

Hot Spot

DETECTION

One of the main benefits is the ability to identify hidden hotspots.

These elevated heat areas, often invisible to the human eye, can serve as future fire ignition points. Early identification allows for preemptive intervention before they flare up, limiting damage and risks.

Support to

MANNED AIRCRAFT

Thermal drones can provide critical information to firefighting aircrews, mapping the area, detecting the direction of flames, and providing tactical suggestions.

This augments the effectiveness of water drops and aerial suppressant use.

Fire

PREVENTION

Monitoring extensive territories, especially forested areas or parks, becomes much more efficient with the use of thermal drones.

They can quickly identify thermal anomalies, allowing for preemptive action before large fires erupt.

Hazardous

MATERIAL STORAGE

Industrial sites storing flammable or dangerous materials can greatly benefit from thermal surveillance.

Drones can monitor these sites, identifying temperature increases that may indicate leaks or other potentially hazardous situations.

Why choosing Vector Robotics’ firefighting drone with thermal camera FH-0

FH-0-8

Main features

FH-0 from Vector Robotics is not just a drone: it is a revolution in the field of fire prevention. Below are some unique features of our firefighting drone with thermal camera FH-0:

Design Uniqueness

Autonomous Processing

Endurance and Discretion

Human Resources Optimization

With FH-0, Vector Robotics has redefined fire prevention standards, providing an unparalleled precision tool. A choice for a safer future

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