Thermal and Multi spectral payloads in commercial drones

Consumer drones have rapidly evolved in the last few years. While cameras are almost expected on nearly every drone purchased these days, the capabilities of those cameras are increasing significantly. Though many on-baord cameras offered with high end drones boast the ability to capture ultra high definition (UHD) 4k resolution full motion video, they still only collect the what the human eye can see, color and light. These colors fall within the visual range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and represent what we perceive with the naked eye.  The colors fall between the wavelengths of about 400-700 nanometers. Camera sensors can be tuned to image only certain wavelengths/colors, and there are many applications for looking at various individual bands of this spectrum.
Image result for visible light spectrum bands

There are several reasons one would want to isolate specific bands, or capture wavelengths outside of the visual spectrum.  but one example would be to monitor the health of the vegetation in a farmers field. Multi Spectral Imagry, (MSI) can identify healthy crops, recently mowed crops, recently sprayed or watered crops, and the water content of the soil. Parrot, a consumer drone manufacturer has recently released a new MSI camera package that can be attached to a variety of aircraft specifically for agriculture use, they call it the Parrot Sequoia AG.
Image result for parrot sequoia camera
Image result for parrot sequoia camera
"The HD video camera helps farmers visually monitor infrastructure, land and herds, for example, but with the Parrot Sequoia sensor, farmers can detect problem areas in crop fields. The embedded Parrot Sequoia automatically records images of crops in four distinct spectral bands (green, red, red-edge and near-infrared) and offers 64 GB of internal memory. It also has a luminosity sensor that records lighting conditions and automatically calibrates collected data with the multispectral sensor data."



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