At the end of September, DJI introduced the Mavic 3 Enterprise series of professional drones. The main novelty can definitely be called the Mavic 3 Thermal (Mavic 3T), equipped not only with a high-quality 48 MP wide-angle camera, but also with a thermal imager with a resolution of 640 × 512 pixels. Let us consider in more detail the scope and main capabilities of the new UAV.
Why is Aerothermography Necessary?
The range of possibilities for using drones is expanding every year. Along with it, the number of possible applications of drones in thermography (i.e. shooting with a thermal imager) is growing. We list the key areas where UAVs are becoming more and more in demand:
- Firefighting. Drones can detect infrared radiation even through smoke and help firefighters find fires.
- Search and rescue operations. In recent years, in many cases, drones have helped to find missing people in mountainous areas, in areas with dense vegetation, as well as in other hard-to-reach areas. Drones with a thermal imager are even more useful: they can be used at night and in thick clouds or fogs.
- Fuel and energy complex. Drones are used for inspections of gas and oil pipelines, power lines, offshore drilling platforms — thermal imagers allow real-time detection of leaks and control of repair work.
Where are thermal imaging drones used today?
If earlier, to conduct a thermographic survey from the air, you had to choose a day with good weather and board a helicopter (or even wait for data from a space satellite), then a modern drone with a thermal imager removes a large number of restrictions. Here are specific examples of the use of UAVs in aerothermography:
- Extinguishing forest fires in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. In April 2020, drones proved to be an indispensable tool in the elimination of fires near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Of course, the fires were not extinguished by drones, but it was UAVs with a thermal imager that helped to identify the sources of fires, despite thick smoke, in conditions where every minute mattered. You can read more about this operation on the DJI blog.
- Search for the missing in the Russian regions. The search and rescue team “Lisa Alert” was able to find many lost children and adults thanks to DJI copters with a thermal imager. Drones allow faster inspection of large areas, and a thermal imager significantly improves the efficiency of operations at night and in winter.
- Inspection of oil and gas industry facilities. Global fuel energy giants such as Shell, TotalEnergies, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger use professional drones with a thermal imager to detect corrosion, control emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere, and build accurate maps of new deposits.
- Animal rescue on agricultural land. In the near-alpine regions of Europe, roe deer often died when harvesting and sowing fields with the help of large agricultural machinery. At the initiative of local residents, the specialists of the agro-complex began to use drones to obtain thermal images of fields in order to quickly detect animals and save them from death.
There is no doubt that in the near future thermal drones will be used in an increasing number of industrial and high-end operations, and the compact DJI Mavic 3T will make aerial thermography a more accessible technology for specialists from Russia and other countries.
How Mavic 3 Thermal differs from other models
A modern thermal imaging camera is not much different from a conventional one, which is why the creators of the Mavic 3T managed to make the new drone lightweight (it weighs 920g) and mobile (folded dimensions — 22.1 × 9.6 × 9 cm). This did not affect the technical characteristics in any way — in one flight, the Mavic 3T is capable of:
- cover a distance of 32 km;
- reach speeds up to 54 km / h in normal and up to 68 km / h in sport mode;
- inspect an area up to 200 hectares.
The manufacturer equipped the quadcopter with an improved return-to-base (RTH) function, an APAS 5.0 system for automatic obstacle avoidance, and OcuSync Enterprise technology for controlling the drone at a distance of up to 15 km. The 5000 mAh battery allows the Mavic 3T to fly non-stop for up to 45 minutes.
The Mavic 3T comes with the new DJI RC Pro Enterprise controller. On it, in split-screen mode, operators will be able to monitor the image simultaneously from a thermal imaging camera and a conventional camera. The synchronous 28x image zoom will help you quickly determine the exact location of the shooting. The screen’s high brightness (1000 cd/m²) and 1920 × 1080 pixel resolution make it easy to see details.
The DJI Thermal Analysis Tool 3.0 will make it easier to identify temperature anomalies in images taken by the Mavic 3T during inspections. And as an accessory for the drone, you can purchase the RTK module, which provides real-time centimetric positioning accuracy and supports GPS, Galileo, BeiDou and GLONASS.
Thus, Mavic 3T is really, according to the manufacturer, a professional drone “for any task.”
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