Drones are a life-saving tool when used in search & rescue, (SAR) operations. Whether this is inland or coastal operations, the use of a drone provides critical support to SAR teams to reduce risk to humans, enable quicker search and provide aerial support during adverse weather conditions, thus increasing the chance of survival.

How Does Thermal Imaging Help During SAR?

Thermal imagers make pictures from heat, which is given off by living things. Thermal cameras capture infrared energy and use the data to create images through digital or analog video outputs. By being able to pinpoint heat spots using a thermal imaging camera, you are able to narrow down the area of search to a high-level point of interest.  This reduces search time considerably. 

Having a Drone with a payload able to carry a thermal imaging camera is an absolute neccesity when conducting search and rescue operations. Thermal imaging cameras pinpoint point of interest that normal high definition camera can’t…. even at night. 

Advantages of Thermal Imaging:

SAR can be conducted at night:

Due to SAR operations potentially being carried out in the harshest of environments, you cannot always rely on having a good light source. Fortunately, having a thermal camera payload on your drone allows effective SAR to be carried out in very low light conditions. Unlike night vision (NVG), thermal imaging cameras do not require any light at all to transmit an image back. Just the slightest difference in temperate between objects will show up on the camera to give the rescuers a clear picture to spot the point of interest.

Multiple colour modes leads to more effective inspection: 

Most high-level thermal imaging cameras have multiple colourisation modes. This allows rescuers to analyse and inspect the scene with much greater precision and accuracy. This leads to a greater understanding of what they could be looking at as the different colour modes may help them to identify potentially unseen elements either with the naked eye or in the other colour modes.

Saving lives by saving time: 

By quickly identifying the point of interest using a thermal imaging camera, SAR teams can rapidly investigate and implement any rescue strategy they see fit. The quicker you identify the point of interest, the quicker your rescue can be carried out. 


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