If you’re a commercial drone operator looking for a thermal zoom drone payload, finally there’s one on the market that’s relatively easy to get your hands on and install.
Teledyne FLIR this week announced a new product called the Radiometric Vue TZ20-R, which is a high-resolution radiometric gimbal payload with pixel-by-pixel temperature measurement and up to 20 times digital zoom. It’s set to be an ideal addition to toolkits for pilots seeking even greater situational awareness, accuracy, and context, such as drone pilots working in the utility, roofing, solar and other industrial inspectors as well as emergency response pilots in search and rescue, law enforcement, firefighting, and public safety.
The thermal zoom drone payload was designed specifically for the DJI V2 Matrice 200 Series and Matrice 300 airframes, making it relatively easy to get your hands on it (the DJI M200 Series V2 is available for order through official DJI Dealers, and the Matrice 300 is available for sale from B&H Photo). The payload uses two 640×512 resolution FLIR Boson thermal camera modules for narrow and wide-fields-of-view.
Here are some of the standout features on the FLIR Vue TZ20-R:
- Radiometry to measure the temperature of every pixel in the scene
- Two 640×512 resolution FLIR Boson thermal camera modules, with one providing a narrow-field-of-view (18 degrees) and the other a wide-field-of-view (95 degrees)
- Thermal zoom performance at five times, 10 times, and 20 times digital zoom
- IP44-rated to provide operability in poor weather conditions
And that dual Boson camera is pretty powerful. Flir says it provides four times more radiometric pixels on target at every zoom level versus all competitors. That’s crucial for industrial work as pilots can more quickly scan and survey large areas, thus cutting down on flight times.
That said, you can still fly a long while with this device, given that the payload shouldn’t have a big impact on your drone’s performance. After all, it weighs just 640 grams (1.4 lbs).
Beyond the payload, you’ll also get an app, which offers features such as isotherms to automatically detect temperatures of interest (used in situations like industrial inspection or public safety where they look for anomalies in temperatures).
This latest FLIR payload expands upon the FLIR Vue TZ20, a high resolution, dual thermal sensor gimbal that launched in March 2021. Like the new “-R” version, that product also offers both a narrow-field-of-view and a wide-field-of-view 640×512 resolution FLIR Boson thermal camera module, as well as 20x digital thermal zoom capability. Though, you won’t get the radiometry component with that version.
The product is made by Teledyne FLIR, which builds intelligent sensing solutions for defense and industrial applications. The company has about 4,000 employees worldwide.
How do you setup the Radiometric Vue TZ20-R?
This thermal zoom drone payload is a fairly straightforward plug-and-play setup. You’ll connect the device via the Skyport V2.0 gimbal on the DJI Matrice 300 or V2 Matrice 200 series.
From there, thermal video and still-image data can be recorded on dual microSD cards along with the ability to stream thermal video mid-flight. Once done with your flight, you can export your data to either FLIR’s own FLIR Thermal Studio software or to a third-party data processing software.
That said, the FLIR Vue TZ20-R isn’t quite ready yet. While you can pre-order it now, it won’t be delivered until October 2021.