Sky-Watch Integrates FLIR Quark 640 into Small UAV
Sky-Watch designs and manufactures quad-rotor UAVs for military, law enforcement, security, firefighting, and search and rescue applications. Based in Denmark, Sky-Watch has integrated a FLIR Quark 640 longwave infrared thermal sensor into their Huginn X1 drone to give customers a thermal vision option. Originally, the X1 was designed to manage a single payload. But due to Quark’s compact size, Sky-Watch has been able to design a dual-payload version that is capable of simultaneously operating a Quark thermal camera core and a visible spectrum camera.
Finding the Right Thermal Camera Core
Sky-Watch’s main customers are within emergency management, which covers fire brigades, police, security, and search and rescue. All of their customers have in common the need to see at night so they can find missing or camouflaged people. Night vision cameras were too bulky for their platform. “Besides,” Michael Messerschmidt, Sky-Watch Business Development Manager, said, “for base protection and compound protection, if you want to see somebody who is sneaking around, thermal is much better.”
Sky-Watch scoured the market for the right thermal camera core to use on the X1. They looked at companies in Germany, the United Kingdom, India, China, and the U.S. All of them claimed to have a small camera core that would suit their needs, yet the smallest was more comparable in size to FLIR Tau. In fact, Sky-Watch considered using a Tau 640 before they learned about the Quark.
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