The use of infrared thermography is truly only limited by the imagination. In many applications, the use of infrared thermography is limited due to the safety of the person or vehicle that must carry the imager into hazardous environments, or difficulty of access to the target. Infrared Thermography applications can be greatly expanded by mounting the Infrared imager on a drone. Now, the thermographer can safely image hazardous or difficult to access targets remotely, not placing the operator in danger. Falling from heights has one of the highest fatality percentages in industrial and commercial industries. In addition, significant cost reductions can be realized in the following areas:
1. Farm Solutions- Through the use of UAVs, we can help identify areas of plant stress, detect symptoms of pests infestation or nutrient application issues. Identified issues can be quickly shared with agronomists and field staff to diagnose and treat each problem. Flights can be conducted on-demand as growers desire. Image analysis tools transform aerial imagery into actionable data, allowing growers to detect and treat early-onset crop issues, resulting in long-term savings and improved crop health.
2. Turf Solutions- We are able to track specific turf problems such as yellowing/browning spots and potential over watered or under watered areas and disease. Each critical area can be monitored over time to show reduction in turf browning, improving course appeal. Targeted areas dramatically improve chemicals and nutrient usage efficiency – only use what you need where you need it. The problems will be tracked, follow up tasks can be assigned to maintenance crew members, and the progress can be monitored over time saving you money in the long run. Detecting areas with high stress provides you and your team with valuable information to take action. Aerial image analysis can detect stress not yet visible to the human eye.
3. Search, and Rescue or Apprehension – Drone mounted IR can be used to quickly locate lost persons outdoors where timing is everything. Drone mounted IR can also be used to locate those that don’t want to be found, such as suspects running from law enforcement.
4. Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) Inspections – For routine inspections of hazardous material equipment, or for emergency response, the Drone can be sent into the “Hot” zone without the possibility of exposing people to the hazard. This can quickly give incident commanders the information that would take much longer without the drone, and put lives at risk.
5. Industrial facility inspections – If the site has outdoor, tall equipment that is hard to access, such as distillation columns, vertical tanks, exhaust stacks, etc. Drone based IR can greatly reduce the risks, and increase the inspection frequency.
6. Cell Tower Inspections – Similar application as Power System inspections. Eliminates the time consuming and dangerous job of someone having to climb the tower.
7. Building HVAC and Roof inspections – Large commercial structures take a significant amount of energy to condition. Most of the critical areas are difficult to access for IR inspections. Drone mounted IR can quickly cover an entire structure and target energy loss areas. Roof inspections are also critical. Drone mounted IR can be used to quickly scan roofs to determine where roof leaks have started that could lead to very expensive and dangerous roof failures.
8. Solar Panel Inspections – Defective cells result in huge daily energy production losses. Manual inspections are time consuming and cost prohibitive. Drone Mounted IR can quickly scan an entire field of solar panels, and quickly identify the defective cells that need maintenance to return to full production.
9. Power Distribution System Inspections – Early detection of equipment abnormalities prevents fires, power outages, and expensive repairs. Ground vehicle use for IR inspections is inefficient. Aerial IR inspections are very expensive. Both approaches require expensive insurance due to placing a human close to the electrified equipment. Drone mounted IR solves these problems.
10. Fire Fighting – A drone with IR technology can be sent into a structure or into a forest fire to search for life, and determine if hot spots still exists that need to be extinguished.