Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Thermal Imaging Enables Drones to See in the Dark

IFA 2015 Consumer Electronics And Appliances Trade Fair

(Photo : Sean Gallup/Getty Images) DJI's Inspire 1 drone can be fitted with the new Zenmuse XT thermal camera, making it see in the dark.

DJI, the world leader in camera drones that are used for aerial photography has teamed up with one of the largest thermal camera companies to create drones that can see in the dark.

The Verge reports that China-based drone maker DJI worked with thermal camera company FLIR Systems and has created a new camera drone equipped with thermal imaging.

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The new thermal camera, aptly named Zenmuse XT, can be equipped to DJI's Inspire 1 and Matrice drones. It will enable users to take control of the camera while in flight, and they will be able to shoot infra-red videos or still photos in the dark. These videos and photos can then be saved for further review and analysis.

DJI says that this new technology can be used for various industrial applications. It can be used for inspecting damages in buildings, equipments, power lines and solar panels. It can also be used for precise monitoring of agricultural land.

More importantly, it can be used especially in fire fighting and in search and rescue operations, as the Zenmuse XT can reveal thermal signals that indicate a raging fire, or a warm body in some confined space.

According to USA Today, the Zenmuse XT is the first of its kind. While drone companies such as DJI has been making drones that already sell in the market, none of them has made an off-the-shelf drone that can see in the dark.

San Francisco-based drone analyst Colin Snow said that it's actually surprising that no one has developed this technology before. But now that it's here, he said that firefighters will most likely want to get it and fly it over fires.

In fact, in a conference, DJI presented a demo video that showed the thermal imaging capabilities of the drone. The video featured how firefighters used the drone in locating the source of a fire that burned a structure, as well as people that needed to be rescued.

The Zenmuse XT is indeed a promising product that has many uses. DJI is slated to release it early in 2016, although the specific date and price is still to be announced.

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