Drone News & Drone Directory

UAV Coach

The Top Thermal Cameras for Drones from DJI, Yuneec, and FLIR

In this article, we share a list of the top thermal cameras for drones. Our list includes cameras from companies like FLIR, DJI, and Yuneec. The camera you choose may be heavily determined by the drone you fly—many thermal cameras are made only to fit specific drone models. We provide specs and information on compatibility to help you determine the best thermal drone camera for your project.

Yuneec thermal camera and drone

The Yuneec H520 hexacopter and CGOET thermal camera.

What Can Drone Operators do with a Thermal Camera?

Aerial thermography is one of many UAS applications where you can make money in the drone industry. When equipped with a special thermal camera, drones can translate thermal energy (heat) into visible light in order to analyze a particular object or scene.

This field has multiple humanitarian and societal benefits as well. Thermography is being used by public safety members to find missing persons, firefighters to put out damaging fires, and agricultural workers to identify more efficient cultivation and harvesting methods. These are just a few of the drones for good efforts we’ve seen in aerial thermography.

List of the 7 Top Thermal Cameras for Your Drone

This list includes the top thermal cameras for drones. Our list features the top FLIR thermal cameras as well as thermal cameras from DJI and Yuneec.

Some of the most important differentiating factors between each camera are whether they are radiometric or non-radiometric and whether they are stable or attached with a gimbal. Radiometric thermal cameras display a thermal image and provide temperature measurements; non-radiometric thermal cameras display a thermal image only. Cameras with a gimbal allow the operator more control over the camera’s movement than those without.

1. FLIR Duo Pro R

  • Thermal Resolution: 336 X 256 / 640 X 512FLIR Duo Pro R
  • Radiometric: Yes
  • Gimbal: No
  • Retail Price: $5,199

FLIR touts this HD dual-sensor thermal camera as “the most powerful dual-sensor imaging solution in the world for small commercial drones.” The FLIR Duo Pro R combines a high resolution, radiometric thermal imager, 4K color camera, and a full suite of on-board sensors to bring you thermal and hi-def color images in flight. A fully integrated GPS receiver, IMU, magnetometer, and barometer provide all the data needed to create accurate orthomosaics without integrating external flight controllers.

2. FLIR Vue Pro R

  • Thermal Resolution: 336 X 256 / 640 X 512
  • Radiometric: Yes
  • Gimbal: No
  • Retail Price: $3,349

This is the first camera FLIR equipped with radiometric technology. The radiometric drone thermal camera can save still images with accurate, calibrated temperature data embedded in every pixel. With this camera, you can also geotag images and control the camera function by integrating with your drone’s control system. This camera is popular for professional sUAS applications like building and roof inspections, power grid inspections, infrastructure analysis, precision agriculture, and public safety.

  • Compatible with: Comes with precision mounting holes: two M2x0.4 on each of two sides & one bottom 1/4-20 threaded hole on top. Contact the FLIR Support Team with questions about compatibility: 866-667-7732.
  • Shop for the FLIR Vue Pro R on Amazon

3. FLIR Vue Pro

  • Thermal Resolution: 336 X 256 / 640 X 512
  • Radiometric: No
  • Gimbal: No
  • Retail Price: $2,349

The FLIR Vue Pro is a professional-grade thermal camera for drone operators. This camera comes at a lower price tag because it does not offer radiometric technology like the Vue Pro R. However, this thermal imaging camera still enables the operator to measure and record temperatures and differentiate them through different color palettes. This model does not store the data onboard, rather it records digital video and still imagery to a removable micro-SD card. Like most FLIR thermal cameras, you can also geotag images and control the camera function by integrating with your drone’s control system.

  • Compatible with: Comes with precision mounting holes: two M2x0.4 on each of two sides & one bottom 1/4-20 threaded hole on top. Contact the FLIR Support Team with questions about compatibility: 866-667-7732.
  • Shop for the FLIR Vue Pro on FLIR.com

4. DJI Zenmuse XT

  • Thermal Resolution: 336 X 256 / 640 X 512
  • Radiometric: Optional Upgrade
  • Gimbal: Yes
  • Retail Price: Contact DJI for pricing

The Zenmuse XT combines DJI’s gimbal expertise and image transmission with FLIR’s industry-leading thermal imaging technology. The camera on the DJI Zenmuse XT is developed by FLIR. It provides high-sensitivity thermal imaging and provides accurate temperature measurements ideal for analytics and telemetry. Stabilized and controlled by a custom DJI gimbal, it provides smooth, clear imagery and 360 degrees of seamless rotational movement. Video and images are stored on a removable SD card.

5. DJI Zenmuse XT2

  • Thermal Resolution: 336 X 256 / 640 X 512
  • Radiometric: No
  • Gimbal: Yes
  • Retail Price: Contact DJI for pricing

The Zenmuse XT2 integrates a high-resolution FLIR thermal sensor and a 4K visual camera with DJI’s stabilization and machine intelligence technology. The advanced thermal sensor provides high sensitivity imaging for infrastructure monitoring, energy inspections, firefighting, search and rescue missions, and more. With a fully-integrated dual payload, professionals can capture actionable thermal and color visible data in a single flight.

6. Yuneec CGOET

  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080p / 30 FPS with adjustable temperature detection
  • Radiometric: No
  • Gimbal: Yes
  • Retail Price: $1,900

The CGOET combines thermal imaging and a low light camera with a 3-axis gimbal, capable of a continuous 360° rotation. With the thermal imaging camera, the temperature in the image selectively measures and indicates relative temperature differences. The residual light IR lens has 20x higher sensitivity than the human eye and captures excellent images, particularly in low light conditions.

7. Yuneec E10T

  • Thermal Resolution: 336 X 256 / 640 X 512Yuneec E10T
  • Radiometric: No
  • Gimbal: Yes
  • Retail Price: $7,999

Yuneec’s launch of the E10T was one of the biggest surprise announcements at InterDrone 2018. The E10T is an all-in-one, three-axis gimbal, dual thermal imaging and residual light camera available in two versions with different lens options: 320 by 256-pixel or 640 by 512-pixel thermal resolution. The H520-E10T system was specially developed for inspection, safety and search & rescue applications.

One of the most impressive capabilities of this thermal camera is that it allows you to stream the thermal and residual light image simultaneously to the remote control and then look at the image as an overlay or picture-in-picture. The E10T will be available later this year in four lens configurations for the two resolution options. The 320-pixel thermal resolution will start at $4,999, while the 640-pixel thermal resolution will start at $7,999.

Share your favorite thermal imaging camera for drones on our community forum. Interested in other types of camera drones? Check out our Top Camera Drones Guide next. It contains tons of camera drone recommendations for cinematographers, real estate marketers, and sUAS service providers.


The post The Top Thermal Cameras for Drones from DJI, Yuneec, and FLIR appeared first on UAV Coach.

Flyability Recruits College Graduates to Advance Underground Drone Technology

U.S. government agency DARPA wants to revolutionize how we operate in the underground world with drones. Underground settings, also called subterranean settings, are difficult and sometimes unsafe to work in. DARPA believes drones could help military and civilian first responders operate more efficiently in subterranean settings such as tunnels, urban underground, and cave networks.

The current hazards of subterranean environments vary drastically from setting to setting, and they have a high level of unpredictability—these environments can degrade or change over time and are often too high-risk for personnel to enter. To help overcome these challenges, DARPA has launched the Subterranean or “SubT” Challenge. The challenge seeks novel approaches to rapidly map, navigate, and search underground environments during time-sensitive combat operations or disaster response scenarios.

Flyability Team CERBERUS

Flyability Elios in action for public safety. Photo courtesy of Flyability.


Team CERBERUS Competes in Subterranean Challenge

Flyability has joined forces with the Autonomous Robots Lab at the University of Nevada, the Robotic Systems Lab of ETH Zurich, the Autonomous System Lab of ETH Zurich, the HiPeR Lab of U.C. Berkeley, and Sierra Nevada Corporation to compete in the challenge. Together, they form Team CERBERUS.

The environments where the challenge is taking place have a lot in common with those where our customers are deploying Elios daily. Taking part in the prestigious Subterranean DARPA challenge is an opportunity to collaborate with university laboratories and companies which are the best in their R&D fields.

—Adrien Briod, CTO, Flyability

Team CERBERUS envisions the collaboration of walking and flying robots as the groundbreaking robotic solution for subterranean deployments. Through the combination of best of bread products and research projects, it will provide field experts with an autonomous, robust, and reliable way to fulfill their mission even in an unpredictable, and hostile subterranean setting. The team hopes their cumulative expertise will enable the successful development and reliable operation of the CERBERUS system in the SubT Challenge.

Take a look at Team CERBERUS’ collaborative walking & flying robots concept developed for the SubT Challenge in the video below:

YouTube Video


Subterranean Challenge Events and Schedule

The challenge consists of three preliminary circuit events and one final event. Teams can compete in one or both of two complementary research tracks: the Systems track, and/or the Virtual track.

Teams that compete in the Systems track will develop and demonstrate physical systems to compete in live competitions on physical, representative subterranean courses, and focus on advancing and evaluating novel physical solutions in realistic field environments. Teams that compete in the Virtual track will develop software and algorithms using virtual models of systems, environments, and terrain to compete in simulation-based events, and explore larger-scale runs in simulated environments that explore significantly expanded scenario sizes and durations. Team CERBERUS has elected to compete in both tracks.

All teams will participate in three circuit events. Each circuit covers a different subdomain:

  • Tunnel systems
  • Urban Underground
  • Cave Networks
DARPA SubT Challenge

The DARPA Subterranean Challenge explores innovative approaches and new technologies to rapidly map, navigate, and search complex underground environments. Photo courtesy of DARPA.


Teams will have plenty of time to design, test, and refine their systems/software since the challenge events will be spread out across a three year period, Fall 2018 – Fall 2021. The final event, planned for 2021, will put teams to the test with a course that incorporates diverse challenges from all three environments. The winner of the systems competition will take home a $2 million prize, while the winner of the virtual competition will earn a $750,000 prize.

Flyability Recruits Graduates to Support Team CERBERUS

Flyability is now recruiting specific profiles opening the door to talented graduates to join the Flyability adventure and contribute to the success of Team CERBERUS.

These openings include internships in a variety of STEM fields:

  • Mechatronics
  • Propulsion
  • Software
  • Electronics
  • Sensor Fusion
  • Automation
  • Mechanical Design
  • Firmware

For a list of all internship and job openings at Flyability, visit Flyabiliy’s jobs page. For additional drone job opportunities, check out our Guide to Drone Jobs.

How do you think Team CERBERUS will perform during the SubT Challenge? Do you think they will excel in one circuit event category over the others or fair evenly in all three? Share your thoughts about the SubT Challenge and Team CERBERUS in this thread on our community forum.

The post Flyability Recruits College Graduates to Advance Underground Drone Technology appeared first on UAV Coach.

New FAA Reauthorization Act Has Big Implications for Hobbyist Drone Pilots

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 was signed into law less than one week ago, on Friday, October 5th.

The Act secures funding for the FAA for another five years, through 2023, and covers an array of items drone-related and otherwise. It’s worth noting that the length of time for the reauthorization is itself a big deal—as reported recently in the Washington Post, a five-year bill has not been passed since the 1980s.


Big Changes Coming for Hobbyists

Hobbyist drone pilots will be among those most impacted by the drone-related changes in the new Act.

One of the biggest changes in the Act is the repeal of Section 336, also known as the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. With the repeal, hobbyist drone pilots will be subject to FAA regulations similar to the regulations commercial drone pilots are required to operate under.

Up to this point, hobbyists have been treated as an entirely separate group of drone pilots from those flying commercially. But it looks like that will no longer be the case, and all drones will now be viewed similarly by the FAA, at least from a regulatory perspective.

In addition to now being subject to regulations about not flying near airports or above 400 feet—restrictions commercial pilots have under the FAA’s Part 107 rules—the Act also allows the FAA to require hobbyist drone pilots to pass a knowledge test before flying. (Commercial pilots have to pass the Part 107 test and receive a Part 107 certificate to fly.)

Image source

Here is a summary of Section 349 of the new Act, which covers new hobbyist drone rules, taken from the website of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation:

This section creates a framework for the operation of recreational [i.e., hobbyist] aircraft including operating requirements, aeronautical knowledge testing, and the qualifications for community-based organizations that support recreational aircraft activities. This section also includes a process for FAA to periodically update operational parameters for recreational aircraft.

[Note: The bold is ours in the above quote.]

Right now it’s unclear when testing and other requirements might actually be implemented for hobbyist drone pilots.

In a recent statement about the 336 repeal the FAA states that “the Reauthorization Act cannot be fully implemented immediately, please continue to follow all current policies and guidance with respect to recreational use of drones.”

Here is everything the FAA lists as new requirements for hobbyist drone pilots:

  • Fly for hobby or recreation only
  • Register your model aircraft
  • Fly within visual line-of-sight
  • Follow community-based safety guidelines and fly within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization
  • Fly a drone under 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization
  • Never fly near other aircraft
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts

One thing to call out in this list is the second bullet regarding registering model aircraft.

Up to this point hobbyists only had to register themselves as pilots. Requiring each drone to be registered, as commercial pilots must do, allows for the implementation of remote ID tracking and the possibility of creating a system, such as a UTM, for tracking who’s flying exactly what where.

Another interesting thing about this list is that a new knowledge test is not mentioned.

It could be that the FAA is exploring alternate certification options for hobbyist pilots, such as joining or abiding by the requirements of an approved community organization, which could oversee hobbyist certification and bypass the need for the FAA to create and administer a brand new knowledge test for hobbyists.

Amid all of this uncertainty, only one thing does seem likely—none of these changes are going to happen over night.

Hobbyist Advocates Speak Out Against 336 Repeal

Some in the drone industry have been advocating for a repeal of Section 336 for a while now to bring hobbyist operations under a tighter regulatory umbrella.

Those on the repeal side want to place restrictions on hobbyists in order to avoid the type of rogue drone-related accident that could turn the tide of public opinion and derail advances in commercial regulation, such as the growth of FAA-approved BVLOS operations for inspections, deliveries, and other commercial applications.

Image source

But others have been vocally opposed to the repeal.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has been one of the main organizations leading the anti-repeal effort. In a blog post about the new Act the AMA lists these concerns about the Act, and specifically the portions pertaining to the repeal of Section 336:

  • The bill does not stop irresponsible drone operators – it only harms our safe and long-standing model aviation community, which has posed no new risk.
  • The [new] 400-foot altitude cap also excludes AMA and the USA from participating or hosting many world aeromodeling events sanctioned by the FAI through the AMA and NAA.
  • This bill curtails events and harms charities, stifling youth involvement in STEM education.

While we support commercial drone endeavors, Congress should not allow for-profit companies to dictate legislation abolishing a segment of the hobby with a strong, eighty-plus year safety record.

– From a statement issued by the AMA

Other Drone-Related Changes in the New Reauthorization Act

In addition to the changes for hobbyists, the new Act contains some other noteworthy drone-related changes and updates.
Here’s a summary:

Drone Deliveries

In SEC. 348 of the bill, the FAA is given one year to update existing regulations to authorize the carriage of property by operators of small UAS for compensation or hire. They will have to create a certification process for UAS operators who want to carry/deliver property for compensation or hire.

Counter-UAS Systems

In SEC. 364 of the bill, the FAA is asked to review agencies currently authorized to operate Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS). The review should include the process of interagency coordination of C-UAS activity and standards for operation of C-UAS. Congress has asked to examine progress on this review within four months of the passage of the bill.

Unmanned Traffic Management and Remote ID

SEC. 376 of the bill requests the FAA to compose a plan for full operational capability of UAS traffic management with NASA and UAS industry stakeholders. They shall develop a plan to allow the implementation of UTM services that expand operations beyond visual line of sight while maintaining the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016. This section also outlines requirements for the completion of the UTM System Pilot Program.

What do you think of the changes in the new Reauthorization Act? Do you think the 336 repeal is a good thing or a bad thing? Chime in on this thread in the UAV Coach community forum to share your thoughts.

The post New FAA Reauthorization Act Has Big Implications for Hobbyist Drone Pilots appeared first on UAV Coach.

DJI Opens Drone Training Center in the Netherlands with Hopes to Establish Global Industry Standards

DJI has opened a UTC (UAS Training Center) in the Netherlands to help educate professional drone operators in Europe. According to DJI, the goal of the training center is to establish a global industry standard for various types of drone applications.

Image source

To start, the center will have two campuses in the Netherlands, which will offer separate curriculums. Both campuses will be run in partnership with the Drone Flight Academy, a training partner based in the Netherlands.

Many industries benefit from utilising drone technology in Europe and globally. DJI wants to help businesses to benefit from drone technology, not just through our hardware and software solutions, but also through education and empowerment.

– Barbara Stelzner, DJI Director of Corporate Communication

Participants will complete a knowledge and flight test when they have completed their coursework, and those who pass will be awarded a certificate from the UTC. Because of the Drone Flight Academy partnership, those who pass will also receive the Netherlands’ Remotely Piloted Aircraft License, which is issued by the Netherlands’ Civil Aviation Authority and required for commercial drone operations there.

[Learn more more about drone laws in the Netherlands here.]

About the Two UTC Campuses

One of the two new UTC campuses DJI is creating in the Netherlands will be dedicated to aerial photography and will be located at Space53 in Enschede. The other campus will be dedicated to industrial inspection, and will be located at DFC in Hoofddorp.

Curriculum for the aerial photography campus will cover operational knowledge, including basics around regulations, flight planning, product knowledge, and best practices for operations. It will also cover creative aspects of aerial photography, which will include information on how to use various cameras, as well as best practices for different aerial photography techniques and post-production.

Curriculum for the industrial inspection campus will cover the technical and operational knowledge required to conduct industrial inspections in various scenarios, and will also dive into real-life inspections situations, including solar panels, power plants, and power lines, among others.

Image source

DJI Market Dominance

Opening these training centers makes sense as one of many next steps for DJI, by far the largest commercial drone manufacturer out there, in their continuous quest for market dominance.

A recent study from Skylogic Research found that DJI is estimated to have a whopping 74% of market share in 2018, up slightly from 72% in 2017. The Phantom and Mavic drones were by far the most popular, according to the study, with the Inspire and Spark following.

[Check out our free guide to the top camera drones on the market here.]

DJI already has a strong market presence in Europe. By training drone professionals to use their hardware, they’ll benefit by furthering their existing presence and establishing themselves as a knowledge source for individuals and companies looking to break into the drone industry.

And for companies looking to incorporate drones into their operations but uncertain about how to go about it—whether to hire a third party, do the work in-house, or some hybrid of the two—the UTC certificates issued by these new training centers will certainly present a useful way to quickly identify qualified pilots.

These UTC campuses in the Netherlands will almost certainly just be the beginning. In fact, these two campuses aren’t even the first training effort DJI has put in place the Netherlands—over the summer they launched a training center for the use of drones among Dutch emergency workers in the Netherlands, also in partnership with Space53.

From here, we can imagine DJI opening many more training centers, with various focuses, as they continue their push to establish and maintain dominance in the market.

What do you think about these new European training centers? Chime in on this post in the UAV Coach Community forum to share your thoughts.

The post DJI Opens Drone Training Center in the Netherlands with Hopes to Establish Global Industry Standards appeared first on UAV Coach.

Drone Parachute Systems Provide a Path to Flights Over People

The pros and cons of sUAS parachute systems are debated heavily in the drone community. Drone pilots are particularly concerned with the possibility of a false deployment of a parachute system. However, with the recent publication of ASTM International standards for sUAS parachutes, they may become a more attractive option for drone operators who wish to fly over people.


Source: ParaZero

New ASTM Standard for sUAS Parachutes

The ASTM standard defines the requirements for the design, manufacturing, and testing of sUAS parachute systems. Among other things, the standard requires an autonomous triggering system to detect failures and deploy the parachute without relying on the RPIC (remote-pilot-in-command) as well as a flight termination system to stop the motors from spinning. Stopping the motors will prevent entanglement with the parachute and reduce the risk of injury/damage.

To meet the standard, parachute systems will need to pass a series of aerial deployments (45 deployments for multi-rotors) to prove the effectiveness of the system in the sUAS’s full flight envelope and in various failure scenarios. Learn more about the standard, F3322, here.

The standard is designed to allow Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) to determine with confidence whether a parachute system is safe enough to allow for flight over people. A leading group of experts from around the world spent many months defining and perfecting the standard. We encourage the FAA and CAAs in other countries to adopt this standard.

—Avi Lozowick, Director of Policy and Strategy, ParaZero

ASTM International cannot require or enforce compliance with its standards. However, the standards may become mandatory when referenced by an external contract, corporation, or government. Neither the U.S. Government or the FAA have created a policy to require adherence to the ASTM sUAS parachute standards at this time. Manufacturers who chose to voluntarily follow these standards, however, will ensure a higher quality of their product and be more competitive on the market.

sUAS Parachutes and Flights Over People

The FAA restricts all UAS flight over unprotected people under the Part 107 rule. This limitation is necessary for the safety of the public underneath, but it has inhibited the growth of the industry as it prevents drones from flying in urban or populated areas where drones could be of valuable use. The only way to gain permission for flights over people is to obtain a waiver from the FAA. This type of waiver is rarely approved, with less than 15 waivers approved by the FAA for flights over people since the waiver process was implemented in 2016.

To some, it seems that parachute systems might provide a solution to flights over people. In fact, the first ever FAA waiver for sustained operations over people with a parachute system was recently granted to North Dakota operator, Botlink, on September 29, 2018.

Botlink is utilizing the waiver to perform missions for local law enforcement as well as for generating media content as part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP) lead by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The first flights using the waiver were conducted during the tailgating event prior to the North Dakota State University vs South Dakota State football game at the FargoDome in North Dakota. In addition, Botlink and CNN demonstrated the first simultaneous use of UAS airspace as they work together to broadcast and live-stream the NDSU/SDSU football pregame tailgating event. Here’s a look at some of the footage they captured:

YouTube Video

To complete the flight, Botlink used ParaZero’s SafeAir System on a DJI Phantom 4. The ParaZero system includes a fully autonomous triggering system that deploys quickly and reliably without being dependent on the operator’s response time. Once the parachute deploys, the system stops the spinning rotors to avoid entanglement with the parachute cords and reduces the risk of laceration injuries to people on the ground.

ParaZero tested the parachute system over many months and shared the data collected from their tests with the FAA. With the test data, ParaZero was able to prove that in the case of a drone failure, the descent rate would be slow enough and the parachute system will work properly in all types of failure scenarios. This data was a critical component of Botlink’s waiver application.

Until today, the handful of existing waivers for flight over people have either been for closed-set operations or for very lightweight and sometimes frangible UAS. This waiver opens the gates for safe flight over people with larger, more advanced UAS that can carry more sophisticated payloads and cameras.

—Eden Attias, CEO of ParaZero

The Best sUAS Parachute Systems

If you’re interested in acquiring a parachute system for your drone, consider these top three sUAS parachute system sellers:

DJI Phantom Mars Drone Parachute System

Source: MARS Parachutes

1. MARS Parachutes

MARS Parachutes has developed a full line of parachute systems that fit several popular multirotor aircraft, such as the full line of DJI aircraft. These systems can be adapted to nearly any multirotor aircraft flying today, and come in a variety of sizes that range from a 36″ canopy to a massive 120″ canopy for large-scale aircraft.

2. ParaZero

ParaZero worked with ATSM to create the latest ASTM sUAS parachute standards. Their unique system is equipped with a SafeAir safety box, which independently monitors the flight operation. In the case of drone failure, SafeAir triggers a patented ballistic parachute to provide a controlled descent rate.

3. Fruity Chutes

Fruity Chutes provides recovery systems to many of the leading aerospace manufacturers including NASA, Space X, AAI Textron, Quest UAV, Aeromao, and many more. Recently, they’ve begun to integrate their parachute systems into UAS products. Their chutes are found in other Drone recovery systems from manufacturers such as Rebel Space, Skycat and more. For consumers, Fruit Chutes offers a variety of drone and UAV recovery bundles.

Have you used any of the parachutes listed above, or do you prefer one that we haven’t listed here? Share your experience with sUAS parachute systems in this thread on our community forum.


The post Drone Parachute Systems Provide a Path to Flights Over People appeared first on UAV Coach.

Page 5 of 125« First...34567...102030...Last »