Low cost infrared and near infrared sensors for UAVs
Thermal remote sensing has a wide range of applications, though the extent of its use is inhibited by cost. Robotic and computer components are now widely available to consumers on a scale that makes thermal data a readily accessible resource. In this project, thermal imagery collected via a lightweight remote sensing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was used to create a surface temperature map for the purpose of providing wildland firefighting crews with a cost-effective and time-saving resource. The UAV system proved to be flexible, allowing for customized sensor packages to be designed that could include visible or infrared cameras, GPS, temperature sensors, and rangefinders, in addition to many data management options. Altogether, such a UAV system could be used to rapidly collect thermal and aerial data, with a geographic accuracy of less than one meter.