Another incredible feat drones are capable of: detecting chemical dangers.
Sensor-maker FLIR this month launched a new product called the FLIR MUVE C360, a multi-gas detector specifically built for drones.
The FLIR MUVE 360 is a 1.5-pound sensor designed specifically to be compatible with the DJI Matrice 210 drone. It can detect hazards that normally a human with a handheld device (or a ground rover, though that’s not always feasible depending on the terrain) would enter the scene to assess. The sensor contains a photoionization detector, plus other electrochemical sensors that provide real-time continuous monitoring of chemical hazards such as chlorine, carbon monoxide, and other combustible gases.
Rather than send a human into dangerous areas, FLIR hopes hazard response teams will first fly a drone mounted with a FLIR MUVE C360 onto the scene for initial assessment.
FLIR says the sensor mounted on drones can provide added safety, reduce work time and deliver a more complete assessment of chemical, industrial and environmental hazards.
“Fire crews will be able to monitor air quality surrounding active scenes before entry, and industrial experts can perform inspections in hard-to-reach areas with relative ease,” according to a statement from FLIR.
The sensor block technology includes four gas regulators, tubing and a power adapter. Samples are actively pumped via an integrated snorkel at a minimum rate of 300 ml/minute. The sensor can operate at extreme temperatures ranging from -4 to 122 °F (though the drone your sensor is mounted on might not necessarily be able to operate under the same conditions).
The FLIR MUVE C360 is expected to go on sale later this year. FLIR, which was founded in 1978, has recently made a number of partnerships with DJI, especially in designing thermal cameras for DJI’s drones.
The new FLIR 360 Muve was unveiled this week at DJI’s AirWorks conference in Los Angeles. The sensor was unveiled as part of a demonstration with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
“Where we cannot go, we will now be putting an unmanned aircraft system. Where we can’t see, we can now put a UAS,” said Richard Fields, battalion chief with the Los Angeles Fire Department.