Drone vision may be improving thanks to a new partnership between DJI and FLIR Systems, a provider of thermal imaging infrared cameras. The two companies have announced a strategic arrangement to bring thermal imaging capabilities to commercial drones. As part of the arrangement, the companies will develop a joint product, the DJI Zenmuse XT, expected to be released in the first quarter of 2016.
“Almost every week we see new applications of our aerial technology,” said Frank Wang, founder and CEO of DJI. “Adding thermal imaging as an additional sensor option for aerial platforms will open up new and innovative uses for our users, whether it’s gaining strategic insight into how their crops are growing or more efficiently understanding the spread of fires."
According to FLIR Systems, thermal imaging provides users with the ability to see in the dark, measure temperature remotely, and see through obscurants such as smoke, dust and light fog.
The Zenmuse XT will feature FLIR’s thermal-imager along with DJI’s gimbal stabilization and Lightbridge video-transmission technology, and will be fully compatible with the DJI Inspire 1 and Matrice 100 aerial platforms.
“By creating a strategic collaboration that combines DJI’s world-leading drone technology and FLIR’s heritage in thermal imagers, we’re accelerating our growth potential in the commercial drone market,” said Andy Teich, president and CEO of FLIR Systems. “It’s truly a better-together opportunity, and we’re excited to help celebrate the launch of the Zenmuse XT today, the first of many products to come under the collaboration.”