DJI releases fully integrated FLIR camera/gimbal for Inspire & Matrice

Talk about a game changer.  A fully integrated FLIR camera with gimbal.  Opens up a wide variety of uses and eliminates the need for a hodge podge of different components to install a FLIR/Gimbal on one of the most frequently used UAS systems for commercial work.

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Comment by AKRCGUY on December 12, 2015 at 1:45pm
James, that would be great if you find the gimbal info please share it. We have a Vue and love it and are about to receive the new Pro which is even better with recording ability and Bluetooth setting capability.
Comment by Fnoop on December 13, 2015 at 3:28am

@James this a good example of what I mean - this needs a professional, commercial option to the likes of the solo, not a diy cable tie effort.  I really enjoy the diy hacking aspect of drones but if I'm looking to buy many $,000 of equipment to survey/firefight/sar/research I don't want to spend months bodging together a fragile unbalanced unintegrated solution with no backup.  The dji offering looks to be perfectly gimbal balanced with full real-time digital video and control integration with their app, and multiple lenses, digital enhancement and of course full support (as well as dji do support, anyway).   For professional outfits there is absolutely no alternative at the moment for the likes of the solo, and it's their $$$ that create the demand and economies of scale that allow eventual production of these products for the diy/hobby market.

Would love to be proved wrong :)  I've been waiting for a long time for a viable thermal offering.

Comment by Fnoop on December 13, 2015 at 4:07am

So the references to gimbals are for the original vue here:

 http://www.flir.com/flirvue/ (FAQ tab)

It basically says it has holes which can be used to attach it to things, including potentially airframes or gimbals, but nothing that they are providing.  It confirms that it doesn't output digital video, only analogue, you can't remove the flir waterstamp, and you can't control the camera externally.  It also directly addresses gimbals:

A: Possibly, but it will take a fair amount of work. As the name implies, these gimbals are designed to work with GoPro® Hero 3® and Hero 4® cameras respectively. Even though the FLIR Vue is not significantly heavier than either the Hero 3 or Hero 4, its shape is quite a bit different. This means that the area where the Vue could sit on these gimbals is very small, and the bracket designed to hold the GoPro on the gimbal back plate won't fit around the Vue. It is possible to fashion some sort of mechanical interface that would hold the camera to the gimbal back plate, but FLIR does not supply this mechanism. Once the camera is mechanically attached to the gimbal, the other issue is that the Vue's center of gravity (CG) is significantly farther forward than is the GoPro's CG, requiring the use of a counterweight to balance the gimbal. Take care that the counterweight does not become so heavy that it stresses the gimbal motors.

So that's not promising.  However, the vue pro (Which doesn't have an FAQ section yet), is much more promising:

http://www.flir.com/vuepro/

In particular on page 5 of the user guide (Literature tab) it specifically details connecting to a pixhawk.  It looks like the mavlink control isn't yet available - presumably it will show up in a future firmware release.  I wonder if maybe they're waiting to release this as part of a commercial product?  Maybe hopefully?  And they're also allowing control of the camera through pwm.  There's still no digital video which is a shame, so something clever would have to be worked out to integrate realtime video through the solo.  But it's looking hopeful, the ingredients are there, for someone, if not 3dr, to produce a proper packaged offering around this.  A balanced adapter for the solo gimbal or the more powerful recent encoder gimbals like the tiny2 which could cope with the offset balance, and supported integration, and this could be a really awesome step forward for the practical applications of drones.

Comment by Ravi on December 13, 2015 at 7:31pm

I think there is no dedicated gimbal for FLIR Vue Pro. Yes FLIR Vue pro does takes Mavlink messages. we can modify gopro gimbals for FLIR Vue Pro. buy why not have dedicated gimbal for FLIR Vue since FLIR Vue is 93 grams as compared to 53 grams for gopro.it should not take too long for 3DR to make FLIR gimbal since 3DR has already worked a lot on gopro gimbal ( a very superior product as compared to Zemues).


T3
Comment by James on December 14, 2015 at 7:14am

Well documented Fnoop, 

As members/researchers etc, its our job to find the best solution and all the flaws...   But in real world scenarios and especially as entrepreneurs, we must be agile and take the most out off the tools we have in hand. That said,

A bussines that already Builds, programs UAS, perform mapping missions, offer industrial inspections:

-Can easily integrate any 100gr cam to almost any gimbal

-Can be benefited by the open control protocol (mavling, pwm etc)

-Doesnt need the complexity of digital streaming, since the best FLIR sensor outs below SD quality

-Can be  benefited by common airframes, since you can usit to mount a gimbal, a steady cam for mapping or anything else you want- were ever you want.

-easily align thermal captions with O,F,K and XYZ with opensourse software (mission planner)

-name it.. 

Below is a sample of a High Voltage line inspection (400k Volts), using IRIS+, FLIR vue, point & shoot camera and Gopro.. The overall budjet we risked was redicule compared to the offered services.

Bottom line,  i dont argue that DJI once again produced a well marketed, working component. Its just dont fits my repeatbility and scalability needs, for the kind of jobs-researches i usually work with.

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