THERMAL IMAGING UAVS HELP IDENTIFY ANOMALIES IN SOLAR PLANTS

FLIR thermal imaging UAV case study(UAV) inspection company Panoptes Srl began working with small UAVs in 2009, but after using consumer cameras, soon realized that it would need specialized inspection tasks. Namely, it needed a vision system specifically designed for small UAVs.

As a result, the company released the Panoptes, which is a family of multi-sensor modules coupled with special software designed specifically for small UAVs. The first product in the line was the mini-Thermo multi-sensor platform (mT Panoptes). This compact system was created specifically for use in UAVs inspecting photovoltaic cells in solar plants.

The mT Panoptes is equipped with both thermal imaging and visible light imaging capabilities. A FLIR Tau thermal imaging core is integrated into the mT, providing thermal images of 640 x 512 pixels. Tau cores feature an uncooled VOx microbolometer thermal imager, a 17 µm x 17 µm pixel pitch, a 7.5 µm – 13.5 µm spectral band, and frame rates of 30 Hz (NTSC), and 25 Hz (PAL). The visible light imager features a 1/3″ CMOS image sensor, 768 x 576 pixels, and a frame rate of 50 fps. Both imagers are 76 x 52 x 60 mm and weigh less than 200g.

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