There’s No Hiding From DJI’s Thermal-Imaging Drones

DJI squarely owns the prosumer end of the drone market with its insanely popular Phantom and Inspire quadrotors. Presumably, the addition of thermal-imaging capabilities to its higher-end drones is meant to lock down that market, not make it easier to hunt and kill humans. Presumably.

DJI has partnered up with thermal-imaging manufacturer FLIR to produce the Zenmuse XT, a thermal-imaging camera that will integrate onto the gimbal on DJI’s existing Inspire 1 and Matrice 100 drones. That means all the advantages that DJI has become famous for — stupid-simple operation, live-streaming first-person video and good performance — will transfer over to a thermal-imaging platform.

In turn, that should open new kinds of possibilities for users. Sure, it would be fun to blast around with a thermal-imaging camera as a hobby; but for search-and-rescue, firefighting or construction workers, it could add a genuinely game-changing capability.

There’s no word on price, but the existing Zenmuse X5 camera already costs thousands of dollars, and thermal-imaging cameras are not normally synonymous with ‘cheap’. Wait and see how many organs you’ll have to sell off: availability is expected in the first part of 2016.