Drones are no longer being used for recreation or media production as before. Apart from filmmaking, sports, and marketing, the device has gained another role. Today’s UAVs have been fitted with a thermal camera that is being used in various industries. Below you’ll find more information on how drone thermography works.

What is drone thermography?

Drone thermography refers to a camera fitted with software that creates an image using infrared energy. Instead of using light to form images, the camera uses heat (infrared energy) to form a picture. What you’ll see are blue and red smears with each shade of color representing varying temperatures generated from humans, animals, objects, and even materials.

How drone thermal imaging works

Thermal imaging works by detecting heat signals from an object or surface. The camera detects small deference in heat, even as low as 0.01 degrees Celsius.  The red color you see represents hot zones, while the blue color indicates colder regions; once this information is processed, it is then displayed in a thermal software or app.

This particular tech is being used to locate people during search and rescue missions, monitor production lines and industrial facilities, monitor areas after a fire, or natural calamities, among others.       

Common uses for Aerial thermography

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV) thermography is used in various industries. In this section, we will look at some of the crucial areas where the tech is applied. The categories include

1.Roof and building inspection

In the real estate industry, thermal imaging drones come in handy a lot. The devices are used to inspect residential and commercial builds. They can detect leaks and find sources of energy inefficiencies and exterior problems.

This is done within minutes, unlike before, when one had to hire a professional. This would take days or months, depending on the building size.  

2.Solar field inspection

When it comes to solar inspection, it can take longer if you are coving a wider area. What the drone does is make the work easier. As it soars high, the device can track cell defects and obtain an accurate reading of the problems. Therefore, one doesn’t need to inspect the drone manually, which saves you time and money.

3.Electrical inspection

For an electrical inspection, one requires a certified drone thermal operator. They will examine the power lines, power distribution systems, and substations for problems. For example, the electrician can spot overheating areas, faulty connections, and damaged components from a distance. Hence, there will be no need for expensive equipment or life risked.  

4.Oil and Gas

The most applicable place where the technology is used in the oil and gas industry is in the refinery and pipeline inspection. However, when it comes to this field, the thermal imaging drone is equipped with optical gas imaging (OGI) sensors. The software can quantify the leaks from a safe distance, and it can be corrected immediately.

For the pipeline inspections, they use fixed-wing drones. The devices have greater operational performance, which captures high-resolution images. This shows cases where the leaks are in a broad view, and it can be fixed immediately.


The agricultural sector has not been left out as well as it uses thermal drone tech as well. The devices provide accurate temperature measurements, crop diseases, salinity, and diseases that might affect the yields. Additionally, farmers also use the device to monitor their animals, for example, sheep and cattle, to ensure they are within the grazing area.

6.Public safety and security    

Finally we cannot forget to mention public safety and security. Thermal imaging is also used to ensure we are safe. For example, in a search and rescue mission, the devices enable the team to find one easily even in the dark.

Also, in the health sector, the software is being used. During this Covid-19 Period, the devices are used to detect heat signals to ensure one does not have the symptoms. A case study is in China during the lockdown, drones with thermal software were deployed to test for high temperatures. This was done since it was fast and safe for health workers. Plus, the drone would cover a wider area.      


Life has been made easier because of a thermal drone, which can handle the complex task. Some tasks proved to be expensive and time-consuming. However, to use thermal technology, one will need a certification from the relevant authorities. Plus, you will need a permit to fly your device, therefore ensure you obtain the needed papers.