An Industry First: FLIR Releases New Sensor Module for Drone and Robotic Manufacturers

July 24, 2020 by Sara McCaslin

Thermal imaging leader FLIR released the Hadron, a SWaP+C sensor module that combines both thermal and visible capabilities in one low profile, compact package.

FLIR is a well-known international leader in the development, manufacturing, and application of thermal imaging infrared (IR) cameras for a range of diverse industries including defense, agricultural, safety, manufacturing, automotive, and construction. FLIR systems are used in many different applications as well, from aiding with preventative maintenance of electric motor powertrains to performing autonomous gas leak inspections. The company includes innovative approaches in their research efforts to remote sensing and machine vision.


Industry-First Dual Imaging Module

One of FLIR’s latest products is the Hadron, an industry-first dual imaging module that fully integrates a high definition vision camera with a Boson thermal camera. The Hadron was designed to provide a compact, low power visual and thermal imaging module that is light-weight, compact, and reliable.


The FLIR Hadron is a first of its kind dual image sensor module, designed with compact, lightweight, low-profile needs of drones and robotics in mind. Image courtesy of FLIR.


By combining HD vision with thermal imaging, the Hadron is able to identify, inspect, and locate subjects even in dark and low light conditions. 


Key Features and Collaboration Efforts

The FLIR Hadron is a SWaP+C (Size, Weight, and Power + Cost) pre-integrated RGB/thermal module. It has a low profile design with a  compact size of 24 x 45 x 36 mm and a weight of less than 43 g. It has an HD 12 MP RGB vision camera fully integrated with a 320x240 resolution Boson thermal camera possessing a frame rate of up to 60 Hz, all in a single module.

FLIR worked closely with Vantage Robotics and Teal Drones in developing the Hadron as a drone-friendly dual vision system. The Hardon is, by design, is well-adapted to UAS (unmanned aerial system) applications, especially those involving small airframes. It was designed to support maximum battery life, which in turn means longer flight times for the drones that depend on it. It has already been successfully integrated on the Golden Eagle platform from Teal (as used by the United States Army) and the Vantage Vesper


A drone from Teal Drones. Image courtesy of Teal Drones

The FLIR Hadron eliminates the need for bulky, heavy imaging solutions that can reduce the battery life and flight range of drones, and it does so while combining both IR and vision systems into one module. 


Dual Sensor Vision Systems

Because the dual sensor vision systems come already integrated from a single supplier, the FLIR Hardon makes it far easier for engineers to implement both thermal and RGB vision systems together. This, in turn, shortens the product’s time to market and can significantly reduce associated development costs. Its out-of-the-box functionality makes it an extremely attractive option for both UAV, robotics developers, and other machine vision applications that demand a compact, lightweight, low-power dual vision solution.

The FLIR Hadron holds great promise for remote identification, inspection, and location of objects of interest, whether in connection with UAS and robotic systems, including a robot-aided visual inspection. This pre-integrated RGB/thermal module is already available for purchase.