DJI has unveiled thermal FLIR cameras for its popular Inspire 1 drone and the Matrice M100. The Zenmuse XT cameras and gimbals will be welcomed by hundreds of commercial drone operators who've been looking for lightweight thermal imaging for their sub 7kg rigs.
[caption id="attachment_3807" align="aligncenter" width="555"] The DJI Zenmuse XT thermal imaging camera[/caption]
Price: £ to be announced
Put down a deposit here.
The XT is the result of DJI's collaboration with FLIR Systems, who are at the forefront of thermal technology. DJI say the XT will be the world's most powerful aerial thermal imaging camera and it'll be available in the first few months of 2016 (Q1). There will be two models, each with a choice of four lenses.
The exciting thing is that the XT will be interchangeable with DJI's other Zenmuse video and stills cameras on the Inspire and Matrice - the X3, X5 and X5R - via the latest gimbal mount. Up until now thermal sensors have only been available on bigger or more expensive, specialist air-frames.
[caption id="attachment_3809" align="aligncenter" width="499"] Thermal images from the DJI Zenmuse XT camera[/caption]
With so may Inspires being used for commercial work, the addition of a thermal sensor will represent a major breakthrough for operators. It can be used for power line inspection, search and rescue operations, solar panel inspections, precision agriculture, fire fighting, heat loss investigations and the list goes on.
“Almost every week we see new applications of our aerial technology,” said DJI Founder and CEO Frank Wang. “Adding thermal imaging as an additional sensor options for aerial platforms will open up new and innovative uses for our users, whether it’s gaining strategic insight into how their crops are growing or more efficiently understanding the spread of fires."
Andy Teich, President and CEO of FLIR said “By creating a strategic collaboration that combines DJI’s world-leading drone technology and FLIR’s heritage in thermal imagers, we’re accelerating our growth potential in the commercial drone market. It’s truly a better together opportunity, and we’re excited to help celebrate the launch of the Zenmuse XT today, the first of many products to come under the collaboration.”
[caption id="attachment_3830" align="aligncenter" width="555"] The Matrice and Inspire with XT FLIR cameras[/caption]
Integrated Thermal Camera
The camera on the DJI Zenmuse XT is developed by FLIR. It provides high-sensitivity (50mK) infrared scanning at 640/30 fps or 336/60 fps depending on the camera model. This sensitivity provides accurate temperature measurements ideal for analytics and telemetry. Both cameras are available with four lens options to meet different business needs. Stabilized and controlled by a custom DJI gimbal, it provides smooth, clear imagery and 360 degrees of seamless rotational movement.
Uncooled VOx Microbolometer
FPA/Digital Video Display Formats
640 × 512
336 × 256
Full Frame Rates
30 Hz (NTSC)
25 Hz (PAL)
30/60 Hz (NTSC)
25/50 Hz (PAL)
Exportable Frame Rates
<50 mK at f/1.0
JPEG (8 bit) / TIFF (14 bit)
2x, 4x, 8x
7.5mm, 9mm, 13mm, 19mm
6.8mm, 9mm, 13mm, 19mm
Image Enhancement Software
Infra-red imagery requires optimization to ensure maximum definition for capturing information. The Zenmuse XT features a suite of image enhancements designed by FLIR including Digital Detail Enhancement™ (DDE); Smart Scene Optimization™ (SSO), which enhances extremes in bi-modal scenes; Active Contrast Enhancement™ (ACE) that adjusts scene contrast relative to its temperature difference; and Information Based HEQ™ (IBHEQ) which compresses complex image data to create the best quality image.
The Zenmuse XT can be controlled completely through the DJI GO app, providing a real-time, low latency view of what the camera sees, and instant access to core camera functions including:
Spot metering, temperature measurement at the mid-point
Single or interval shooting modes
Photo, video preview and download
Take photos while recording video
Various camera settings and parameters including:
-Palette, also referred to as Look-up Table (LUT)
-Scene, also referred to as Automatic Gain Correction (AGC)
-Region of Interest (ROI)
When used with either the Inspire 1 or the Matrice 100, the Zenmuse XT can be put into the air in seconds. It is seamlessly integrated, giving it complete access to key features including the powerful Lightbridge video transmission system (providing up to 3.1 miles (5KM*) of HD range), automated Point of Interest, Course and Home Lock, Follow Me, and the DJI SDK.
When combined with the Inspire 1, the Zenmuse XT works with incredible speed, efficiency and convenience. If used with the Matrice 100, the Zenmuse XT can stay in-flight for up to 35 minutes, ideal for large scale inspections and especially useful in search and rescue scenarios.
6.8 mm: 1.2 m; 7.5 mm: 1.2 m; 9 mm: 2.1 m; 13 mm: 4.4 m; 19 mm: 9.5 m
Hyperfocal Depth of Field
6.8 mm: 0.6 m; 7.5 mm: 0.6 m; 9 mm: 1.1 m; 13 mm: 2.2 m; 19 mm: 4.8 m
Angular Vibration Range
Tilt：-35° to +135°; Pan：±320°; Roll：±30°
Tilt：-45° to +135° Pan：±320° Roll：±45°
Max Controllable Speed
Image Processing & Display Controls
NTSC/PAL (field switchable)
Digital Detail Enhancement
Polarity Control (black hot/white hot)
Color & Monochrome Palettes (LUTs)
640 × 512：
2x, 4x, 8x
336 × 256：
Operating Temperature Range
14° to 104°F (-10° to 40 ℃)
Non-Operating Temperature Range
-22° to 158°F (-30° to 70 ℃)
41°F/ min (5 ℃/min)
5% to 95%
Heliguy's FPV solution
One thing that DJI haven't addressed yet is the Inspire's lack of an FPV camera but Heliguy solved this problem shortly after the original Inspire was launched. It's going to be even more important now for the pilot to have a standard electro-optical camera to fly by if the main one has a thermal imager.
Heliguy can fit a new nosecone, FPV camera, transmitter, battery and monitor. The whole setup is self-contained and doesn't interfere with the electronics of the Inspire or Matrice. We think it's vital for safe operation even with one of the standard cameras.
[caption id="attachment_1117" align="aligncenter" width="555"] An FPV camera fitted to the DJI Inspire 1[/caption]
Exclusive data sets, collected by heliguy™, show the quality of the DJI M300 RTK and DJI Zenmuse P1 for aerial surveying - and highlight the benefits of the camera's innovative Smart Oblique Capture mode.
You need a drone license when you are flying as a commercial drone pilot, ie when you are using your drone for work and money-making purposes. This means, in most cases, you will need to sit the FAA Part 107 test.
You do not need a drone license when you are flying as a hobby and for purely recreational purposes. However, you will need to operate by strict rules. There are plans to introduce the requirement for hobbyists to pass an online aeronautical knowledge and safety test.