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May 09, 2023 | 11:09 am 451 0

Night vision devices on modern drones


Night vision devices on modern drones

The improvement of various technologies is gradually expanding the capabilities of modern drones. Recently, these UAVs have begun to be equipped with night vision devices. This combination allows you to shoot in the dark when the examined area is not well-lit. Nowadays, many types of NVDs are permitted to be installed on drones. Before using them, you should study every aspect of such optics and learn how to combine their capabilities with the characteristics of the UAV correctly.

Varieties of NVDs for UAVs

Among the many available NVDs, installing unique cameras on drones is recommended. These devices should replace the standard optics initially sold with the UAV. The equipment used must be designed for flights at different altitudes. In addition to all of the above, it is essential to pay attention to the weight and dimensions of NVDs.

Drone-mounted devices:

  1. Low light cameras. Such devices are the best choice in cases where it is required to obtain a high-quality image with a high probability of viewing various details on it. This optics is equipped with an electron-optical converter, with the help of which it is possible to achieve an increase in the brightness of the image. Cameras use any available lighting (from small celestial bodies, the Moon, and various artificial lighting devices) as the basis for forming a picture. They capture it, repeatedly transform it and turn it into visible light to the human eye. Low-light cameras are almost always equipped with the most sensitive sensors that can capture even minimal lighting. This gives them the ability to work effectively when shooting from a drone.
  2. Thermal imaging cameras. Such a device will be optimal for cases when shooting is carried out to search for people or warm-blooded animals in the dark. It has many modern sensors and lenses, forming a complex system for processing the collected infrared radiation. Based on it, optics creates a thermal image, where you can easily distinguish cold objects from warm and hot ones (by the color corresponding to a specific temperature). Unlike low-light models, thermal imaging optics can work effectively without lighting. Because of this, its scope becomes a little wider.

Use cases for NVDs on drones.

Combining modern UAVs with NV cameras opens up new possibilities for users. Thanks to such devices, much work can be done even after dusk.

Use cases for a combination of NVDs and UAVs:

  1. Military operations. Military personnel are the most active drone users with NVDs. These devices help them carry out reconnaissance activities and quickly identify camouflaged equipment and enemy soldiers. In addition, the military will be able to monitor the environment even in heavy smoke, fog, and snowfall conditions. With the correct use of NVDs on UAVs, you can get a significant advantage over the enemy and complete the military operation that has begun.
  2. Security activities. Many organizations use UAVs for various security activities. This happens in cases where the territory of a particular object is significant, and it is impractical to bypass it with lanterns in hand. Both types of cameras are equally well suited for security. Low light will help to visually assess the state of the territory, and thermal imaging - to find unauthorized persons on it.
  3. Search for people. Drones with NVD installed will become indispensable when searching for missing people. It will enable rescuers to work around the clock, maximizing the chances of success. In addition, such devices will be helpful in the aftermath of various natural disasters. Thanks to them, it will be much easier to find most victims needing help.
  4. Police operations. Pursuing troublemakers or finding escaped criminals becomes more difficult after dark. To increase the chances of completing the process, the police use various UAVs with night vision cameras. They allow you to quickly inspect a large area and find subjects of interest in it.
  5. Maintain law and order. During mass events at night, the police cannot quickly penetrate the crowd and monitor the actions of the spectators. Therefore, to maintain law and order, they use UAVs with NVDs. Such devices will help to monitor the situation from the beginning of the event to its end, stopping any violations of public order in time.
  6. Scientific activity. Some animals are nocturnal. Scientists must use UAVs with NV cameras to find them in the dark. Also, this combination of devices will simplify the observation process and allow you to record video materials. The collected information will become the basis for various reports and scientific papers and will help to speak at conferences. Another option for using NVDs in combination with UAVs is to monitor the population size of certain nocturnal animal species.
  7. Inspection. It is only possible to do this in various industrial enterprises with a drone with NVDs. Here they are used to inspect multiple objects from dusk to dawn. Thanks to this combination of devices, problems with equipment, leaks of hazardous substances, and other troubles can be detected in time. Then it remains only to quickly take the necessary measures to avoid catastrophic consequences for the enterprise (for example, a complete breakdown of expensive equipment) or the city (for example, an explosion, hazardous chemicals entering the air, etc.).
  8. Agriculture. In this area, the night vision on the UAV will also become an indispensable assistant. Thanks to different cameras, it will be much easier to monitor the ripening crop at night (stop attempts at theft, protect various crops from the effects of animals, etc.) and monitor livestock. In some cases, aircraft equipped with NVDs can help predict pest infestations or identify sick individuals in a herd.
  9. Navigation. Drones with NVDs are used to determine their location and find a route to further advance in the dark. This combination of devices will help avoid troubles that will happen if you move blindly.
  10. Photo, video filming. To get unique photos and videos, you must take drones with NVDs installed. Such devices will allow shooting even in hard-to-reach places never illuminated by the sun (in caves and other similar objects). You can also receive high-quality photos and videos from various mass events held at night (open-air concerts, festivals).

Nuances of operating NVDs on drones

Before using NVDs with modern drones, consider a few things. This information will help you better manage both devices and avoid serious errors.

Important features:

  1. On the territory of most countries, there are closed zones where not only shooting (night or day), but simply the flight of various devices is prohibited. Therefore, to avoid numerous problems, you need to know where and where to use this combination of instruments.
  2. All cameras suitable for installation on UAVs have a particular set of characteristics. Therefore, it is necessary to combine one or another model with devices whose capabilities are enough to use the entire available reserve of optics. For example, it is recommended to use UAVs capable of flying at altitudes from which the NVD can take night pictures.
  3. In most cases, cameras have longer battery life than drones. You need to know this when planning a flight. Otherwise, you can get carried away with night shooting and not notice that the UAV's energy resource is at a minimum. You can partially solve the problem with the help of additional batteries. They can quickly replace power supplies with a depleted charge.
  4. In most cases, you cannot change NVD settings remotely. Because of this, it is recommended to adjust various parameters carefully and only start shooting from an aircraft. In addition, conducting a short test flight is required, during which you can monitor the change in the clarity of the resulting image.
  5. NV cameras are expensive. Therefore, it is essential to use a UAV with a GPS sensor to retain them. It will always help to determine the aircraft's location and the optics attached to it.
  6. Many NVDs are not capable of withstanding sudden temperature changes. Therefore, before using them on drones, it is recommended to determine the difference in performance on the ground and at the height from which you plan to shoot. The information obtained will help you make the best decision and prevent damage to NVDs.
  7. If the night cameras installed on the UAV are used to film the city, it is necessary to carry out the work as soon as possible. Otherwise, a sudden battery drain could cause the drone to fall on unsuspecting bystanders. To prevent this from happening, you need to land the UAV after the percentage of the remaining charge drops to 45% -50%.
  8. Before using NVDs and drones, you must study the weather forecast. If this is not done, sudden rain, snow, or hail can seriously damage the camera or the UAV. Particular attention should be paid to the wind, which can make it extremely difficult to control the drone.
  9. The maximum flight altitude should be the distance to the ground at which NVDs can provide the user with a high-quality image. To determine such a height, it is enough to know the maximum range of the NV camera.
  10. It would be best never to forget that a drone with NVD launched will not be the only one flying over a given territory. Various birds or other UAVs may also be in the selected airspace. An accidental collision with one of the objects will damage the optics or the fall of the aircraft to the ground with the destruction of both devices.

The popularity of drones is growing every year. With their help, they perform dozens of work, ranging from the simplest to the most responsible. It would be best if you equipped them with night vision devices to expand the scope of such UAVs further. This combination will make it possible to shoot in the dark, which ordinary cameras cannot handle.


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