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Miniature Thermal Imaging Camera for UAVs
A new thermal imaging camera, utilising EYE-R core™ technology, has been designed for UAVs. It offers ultra low power consumption, powerful built in FPGA, tecless and shutter less operation and utilises the latest 640x480 17µm pixel imager.
Shutter less technology allows uncooled IR engines and cameras to operate continuously without the need for a mechanical shutter for NUC (Non Uniformity Correction) operations. By eliminating the need for a shutter, these engines are constantly open; experiencing no image freezes - critical in UAV systems. Shutter less engines are also smaller and lighter than conventional engines, operate silently, have a faster start up time, consume less power and have better MTBF.
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Packed in a small, lightweight, low power format this thermal imaging camera is based on a 640x480 pixels 17micron ASi microbolometer detector. It is tuned to the long wave infrared band with a sensitivity of < 50mK at f#1. The small size and weight make it suitable for the growing requirements for UAVs, UGVs and USVs, which are providing safe and secure data acquisition in dangerous situations. The advanced FPGA-based platform provided with this engine supports powerful proprietary, fully tested, algorithms ensuring high performance in poor visibility conditions opening up the application for driver enhanced vision. This ensures that the driver can see without being seen by avoiding the use of headlights, critical when working in battlefield or security situations. These features also offer major advantages in the security market with the ability to detect threats from long distances. With a 45mm lens detection of a man is 1200meters and 2480meters with a 135mm lens. As thermal is totally passive people trying to gain access into secure sites are not aware of camera positions at night as no lighting system is required. This also ensures that the cost of running and installing the system are reduced as lights, either normal or IR, are not required and neither are the associated power supply and cables. So thermal imaging also provides a greener solution than traditional CCTV. The high contrast of thermal imaging, target to background temperature level, ensures that video analytics work extremely well allowing tracking, people counting, etc. to be effectively carried out.
Video processing techniques such as edge enhancement, local DRC, time domain filter, NUC BPR etc. are integrated into the engine electronics offering maximum flexibility in the field. The Engine runs from a 4-14Volt rail and draws just 1.3W. This engine runs at full frame rate, operates in temperatures from -40º to +75º and complies with MIL=STD 810F/461D and MIL-STD 810F. Time to first image is 2 seconds. Graphical features include the ability for users to add their own logo. On screen menu, text, together with 32 reticules are available as are colour pallets of 256 colours. Continuous digital zoom from x1 to x12 further enhances the powerful features of this system. A major advantage is that this item is not ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)
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This new camera is the way forward providing a simple, cost effective solution for UAV and UGV vehicles but providing a powerful tool for security, safety and defence applications