Insights

Collect Better Data with Infrared Drone Technology

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a… drone? Drones are becoming increasingly common in business practices, with the technology being used across industries for commercial applications from cargo delivery and construction site management to railway safety and security.

At B&N, drone technology has been used for several years to supplement structural inspections. By using drones for inspections of structures such as bridges, dams, and roadways, we can more efficiently capture precise data from unique vantage points and reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Now, B&N is leveraging a new technology in conjunction with drones to obtain even higher levels of data: infrared, or thermal, imaging.

Benefits of Infrared Drone Technology

The evolution of drone technology continues every day. As one of the latest evolutions, the coupling of thermal imaging abilities with drone technology presents an opportunity to collect better data more efficiently than ever before.

Improved Capabilities

With the new infrared technology comes new equipment and improved capabilities. The thermal camera, optical camera and drone specs are all better than previous models. Some of the improved specs include advanced zoom capability, multiple camera attachments, longer flight times and battery life, real time kinematics (RTK), heat tracking, temperature alarms and anti-collision beacons.

Streamlined Data Collection

With side-by-side camera mounts, both thermal and optical imaging can be captured simultaneously. This allows for dual data collection and monitoring in a fraction of the time that manual collection would take. The infrared drone technology is also capable of accessing areas that are harder – or even impossible – to reach manually. 

Beyond the Naked Eye

Not only can infrared drone technology provide better data collection, it can collect data undetectable by the human eye. Thermal imaging allows us to see and record data beyond what we can see: heat, energy loss and water infiltration to name a few.

Infrared drone technology allows us to provide clients with a new perspective and actionable insights.

Applications

Infrared drone technology is especially helpful in infrastructure and facility inspections, and can help inspectors identify deficiencies in roads, bridges and structure components as well in building and utility infrastructure.

The technology is used to detect deficiencies, such as cracks and leaks that have been infiltrated by water. This is because thermal imaging can easily detect water infiltration as a result of the higher specific heat capacity of water, which retains more heat and shows up as warmer temperatures than the surrounding air. Thermal imaging could also be applied to locate leaks or areas with high heat loss in steam lines, or to locate lines for construction.

Learn More

The technology will continue to evolve, and B&N’s team of drone pilots and inspectors are committed to staying on the cutting edge. To learn more about drones, infrared technology, or how you can apply these practices to your next project, contact Mike Kronander or Mat Aldridge.

Mike Kronander, PE, Bridge Inspection Engineer
Mike Kronander, PE
Bridge Inspection Engineer
Mathew Aldridge, Environmental Scientist
Mathew Aldridge
Environmental Scientist