Aerial thermography is one of many drone applications used in the industry. When equipped with a unique thermal camera, drones can translate thermal energy (heat) into visible light to analyze a particular object or scene. This field has multiple humanitarian and societal benefits, as well. Thermography is being used by search to find missing persons or animals, firefighters to put out fires, and even to check where a building may need insulation due to losing heat in a specific area. These are only a few of the applications that thermal imaging drones are being used. Thermal Imaging uses infrared camera technology to detect differences in surface temperatures. Traditionally, thermal imagery uses handheld thermal imaging cameras for a variety of different uses, and covering large areas is accordingly costly and time-consuming.
Water suppliers across the UK and Ireland have seen significant increases in the amount of water leakage across their networks.
Subsurface water leak surveys using a drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera are one of the main ways to combat this issue. The benefit of using a drone-mounted with a thermal imaging camera is that it allows the study of large areas in a short space of time and with access typically tricky or inaccessible areas such as rural land. Not only cities or towns, but this method is also used to check where rivers and lakes have been leaking into rural areas. The same UAV mounted thermal imaging technology can also be used to detect subsurface steam leaks from heating networks.
The same methods can be expanded across many different industries, such as industrial inspections of solar panels. The use of a thermal imaging drone can detect if a solar panel is damaged. Conducting a thermal investigation of a home or commercial building can identify where a building may need insulation due to losing heat from a specific area.