DJI Announces Thermal FLIR Camera for Inspire 1 Drone

DJI has unveiled thermal FLIR cameras for its popular Inspire 1 drone and the Matrice M100. The Zenmuse XT cameras and gimbals will be welcomed by hundreds of commercial drone operators who’ve been looking for lightweight thermal imaging for their sub 7kg rigs.

DJI Zenmuse XT thermal imaging camera

The DJI Zenmuse XT thermal imaging camera

Price: £ to be announced

Put down a deposit here.

The XT is the result of DJI’s collaboration with FLIR Systems, who are at the forefront of thermal technology. DJI say the XT will be the world’s most powerful aerial thermal imaging camera and it’ll be available in the first few months of 2016 (Q1). There will be two models, each with a choice of four lenses.

The exciting thing is that the XT will be interchangeable with DJI’s other Zenmuse video and stills cameras on the Inspire and Matrice – the X3, X5 and X5R – via the latest gimbal mount. Up until now thermal sensors have only been available on bigger or more expensive, specialist air-frames.

Thermal images from the DJI Zenmuse XT camera

Thermal images from the DJI Zenmuse XT camera

With so may Inspires being used for commercial work, the addition of a thermal sensor  will represent a major breakthrough for operators. It can be used for power line inspection, search and rescue operations, solar panel inspections, precision agriculture, fire fighting, heat loss investigations and the list goes on.

“Almost every week we see new applications of our aerial technology,” said DJI Founder and CEO Frank Wang. “Adding thermal imaging as an additional sensor options 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.”

Andy Teich, President and CEO of FLIR said “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. 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.”

Matrice and Inspire with XT FLIR cameras

The Matrice and Inspire with XT FLIR cameras

Integrated Thermal Camera

The camera on the DJI Zenmuse XT is developed by FLIR. It provides high-sensitivity (50mK) infrared scanning at 640/30 fps or 336/60 fps depending on the camera model. This sensitivity provides accurate temperature measurements ideal for analytics and telemetry. Both cameras are available with four lens options to meet different business needs. Stabilized and controlled by a custom DJI gimbal, it provides smooth, clear imagery and 360 degrees of seamless rotational movement.

Thermal Imager Uncooled VOx Microbolometer
FPA/Digital Video Display Formats 640 × 512 336 × 256
Pixel Pitch 17 μm
Full Frame Rates 30 Hz (NTSC)
25 Hz (PAL)
30/60 Hz (NTSC)
25/50 Hz (PAL)
Exportable Frame Rates <9Hz *
Sensitivity (NEdT) <50 mK at f/1.0
Photo Formats JPEG (8 bit) / TIFF (14 bit)
Video Format MP4
Digital Zoom 2x, 4x, 8x 2x, 4x
Lens Options 7.5mm, 9mm, 13mm, 19mm 6.8mm, 9mm, 13mm, 19mm

Image Enhancement Software

Infra-red imagery requires optimization to ensure maximum definition for capturing information. The Zenmuse XT features a suite of image enhancements designed by FLIR including Digital Detail Enhancement™ (DDE); Smart Scene Optimization™ (SSO), which enhances extremes in bi-modal scenes; Active Contrast Enhancement™ (ACE) that adjusts scene contrast relative to its temperature difference; and Information Based HEQ™ (IBHEQ) which compresses complex image data to create the best quality image.

Fingertip Control

The Zenmuse XT can be controlled completely through the DJI GO app, providing a real-time, low latency view of what the camera sees, and instant access to core camera functions including:

  • Spot metering, temperature measurement at the mid-point
  • Digital zoom
  • Single or interval shooting modes
  • Photo, video preview and download
  • Take photos while recording video
  • Various camera settings and parameters including:
    • -Palette, also referred to as Look-up Table (LUT)
    • -Scene, also referred to as Automatic Gain Correction (AGC)
    • -Region of Interest (ROI)
    • -Isotherm mode

Seamless efficiency

When used with either the Inspire 1 or the Matrice 100, the Zenmuse XT can be put into the air in seconds. It is seamlessly integrated, giving it complete access to key features including the powerful Lightbridge video transmission system (providing up to 3.1 miles (5KM*) of HD range), automated Point of Interest, Course and Home Lock, Follow Me, and the DJI SDK.

When combined with the Inspire 1, the Zenmuse XT works with incredible speed, efficiency and convenience. If used with the Matrice 100, the Zenmuse XT can stay in-flight for up to 35 minutes, ideal for large scale inspections and especially useful in search and rescue scenarios.

General

Model Zenmuse XT
Dimensions 103 mm x 74 mm x 102 mm
Weight 270 g

Camera

Thermal Imager Uncooled VOx Microbolometer
FPA/Digital Video Display Formats 640 × 512 , 336 × 256
Analog Video Display Formats 720 × 480 (NTSC); 720 × 576 (PAL)
Pixel Pitch 17 μm
Spectral Band 7.5 – 13.5 μm
Full Frame Rates
640 × 512:

30 Hz (NTSC)   25 Hz (PAL)

 

336 × 256:

30/60 Hz (NTSC)   25/50 Hz (PAL)

Exportable Frame Rates 7.5 Hz NTSC; 8.3 Hz PAL
Sensitivity (NEdT) <50 mK at f/1.0
Scene Range (High Gain)
640 × 512:

-13° to 275°F (-25° to 135°C)

 

336 × 256:

-13° to 212°F (-25° to 100°C)

Scene Range (Low Gain) -40° to 1022°F (-40° to 550°C)
Spot Meter Temperatures measured in central 4×4
File Storage Micro SD Card
Photo Format JPEG, TIFF
Video Format MP4

Lens Models

6.8 mm, 17μ 336×256 f/1.4; FoV: 49.1°x37.4°; iFoV: 2.519 mr
7.5 mm, 17μ 640×512 f/1.4; FoV: 90° x 69°; iFoV: 2.267 mr
9 mm, 17μ 640×512 f/1.4; FoV: 69° x 56°; iFoV: 1.889 mr
9 mm, 17μ 336×256 f/1.25; FoV: 35° x 27°; iFoV: 1.889 mr
13 mm, 17μ 640×512 f/1.25; FoV: 45° x 37°; iFoV: 1.308 mr
13 mm, 17μ 336×256 f/1.25; FoV: 25° x 19°; iFoV: 1.308 mr
19 mm, 17μ 640×512 f/1.25; FoV: 32° x 26°; iFoV: 0.895 mr
19 mm, 17μ 336×256 f/1.25; FoV: 17° x 13°; iFoV: 0.895 mr
Min Focus Distance   6.8 mm: 2.3 cm;   7.5 mm: 2.5 cm;   9 mm: 3.2 cm;
13 mm: 7.6 cm;   19 mm: 15.3 cm
Hyperfocal Distance   6.8 mm: 1.2 m;   7.5 mm: 1.2 m;   9 mm: 2.1 m;   13 mm: 4.4 m;   19 mm: 9.5 m
Hyperfocal Depth of Field   6.8 mm: 0.6 m;   7.5 mm: 0.6 m;   9 mm: 1.1 m;   13 mm: 2.2 m;   19 mm: 4.8 m

Gimbal

Angular Vibration Range ±0.03°
Mount Detachable
Controllable Range Tilt:-35° to +135°; Pan:±320°; Roll:±30°
Mechanical Range Tilt:-45° to +135° Pan:±320° Roll:±45°
Max Controllable Speed 120°/s

Image Processing & Display Controls

NTSC/PAL (field switchable) yes
Image Optimization yes
Digital Detail Enhancement yes
Polarity Control (black hot/white hot) yes
Color & Monochrome Palettes (LUTs) yes
Digital Zoom
640 × 512:

2x, 4x, 8x

 

336 × 256:

2x, 4x

Environmental

Operating Temperature Range 14° to 104°F (-10° to 40 ℃)
Non-Operating Temperature Range -22° to 158°F (-30° to 70 ℃)
Temperature Shock 41°F/ min (5 ℃/min)
Humidity 5% to 95%

Heliguy’s FPV solution

One thing that DJI haven’t addressed yet is the Inspire’s lack of an FPV camera but Heliguy solved this problem shortly after the original Inspire was launched. It’s going to be even more important now for the pilot to have a standard electro-optical camera to fly by if the main one has a thermal imager.

Heliguy can fit a new nosecone, FPV camera, transmitter, battery and monitor. The whole setup is self-contained and doesn’t interfere with the electronics of the Inspire or Matrice. We think it’s vital for safe operation even with one of the standard cameras.

Inspire FPV front 01

An FPV camera fitted to the DJI Inspire 1

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