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Drones Deliver a Fresh Take on Airborne Imaging Applications

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Building on its success in filmmaking, drone-based imaging is winging its way into new application sectors, from infrastructure inspection to agriculture.


Initially swooping in to provide aerial shots in big-budget movies, UAVs — or drones, in consumer parlance — are now bringing aerial cinematography technology to other applications. Drone-mounted imagers are helping to inspect infrastructure, monitor crops, and conduct search and rescue operations. They could eventually deliver vital goods. As demand grows for these high-flying imaging platforms, the technology is evolving to allow drones to perform finer maneuvers, capture higher-quality images, and stay airborne longer. Once reliant on helicopters and airplanes, aerial cinematography became more practical as filmmakers began to mount high-end cameras on custom-built drones with the goal of cutting costs. But the real value of this innovation has only begun to emerge as end users in other fields contemplate the potential roles that drone-based imaging technology could play.

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Photonics Spectra
Oct 2020
hyperspectral imaging
Methods for identifying and mapping materials through spectroscopic remote sensing. Also called imaging spectroscopy; ultraspectral imaging.
An acronym of light detection and ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection functions. Ladar, an acronym of laser detection and ranging, uses laser light for detection of speed, altitude, direction and range; it is often called laser radar.
machine vision
Interpretation of an image of an object or scene through the use of optical noncontact sensing mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining information and/or controlling machines or processes.
FeaturesImagingSensors & DetectorsOpticscamerashyperspectral imaginglidarmachine vision

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