FLIR CEO Andy Teich on Black Hornet and Thermal Imaging for Drones
Well as well flight test crew here today with Andrew teach, who’s, the president and CEO of FLIR systems, and we’re sitting in the lobby of their headquarters right here in Wilsonville Oregon. How are you doing today, Andrew ah well, Patrick it’s, been just over a year now, since Lear entered the civilian drone space, with their partnership with DJI to produce the zenmuse XT? How has that been, since you & # 39? Ve entered this market, it’s.
Really. Quite amazing, though, that when consumer drones hit the market we saw, this is a huge opportunity because it was fundamentally happening at the same time that we were pursuing consumer markets for thermal imaging.
So as we were driving down the sighs, wait, power and cost of thermal imaging cameras, the same thing was happening with airborne platforms, of course, moving from very expensive, manned helicopters to inexpensive and ultimately consumer grade drones and similarly stabilization technology coming along using MEMS accelerometers, and I am used to allow us to do stabilization much more or less expensively than the way we do it, and you know our million-dollar gimble’s that we build here in this building.
You know just about a month ago, at CES, you guys released the duo’s and you which combines a lepton sensor and a visible light camera. It’s going really well, and we ‘ Ve been really focused on making sure they stay in stock, so people can buy these.
You know this gives you something you can pull right out of the trunk, get up in the air and get flying, and when you think about it in terms of duo, we have always had an approach of FLIR to have a value ladder in our product product.
To serve a wide range of applications and a wide range of rice and performance points and duo forms the bottom rung on that ladder. So we ‘ Ve got a product that starts at $ 999, it gets a thermal imager, a visible imager and our really powerful MSX algorithm in the air on an inexpensive sort of similarly priced platform, and it just opens up a whole new world of consumer and commercial application.
What is a boson sensor and if you can tell sort of what’s coming in what’s in the works right now? So the first thing I think that’s. Interesting to look at is our Tau core. The first version of it came out and eight and then subsequently it’s had revisions in 2010 and 2012 very popular.
Today. It’s, still one of our best-selling course, but you know you see from a size, weight and power standpoint. This is about a inch and a half cube. This is what the Zen use XT is based on, but we’ve, really been pushing on reducing size, weight, power and cost of our payloads.
We can get to a broader application space. We push that really hard and launched back in 2014, this little guy, the lepton, which you know is just insanely small and our engineers really took us seriously.
When we said we want to see a dramatic reduction in size, weight, power and cost that resulted in the left on development, lepton is in the heart of the duo. It’s, also being used on the procs dynamics.
Black Hornet. It actually was how we actually started that relationship with proc. You know we pushed on that size, weight, power and cost lever with the development of our next generation high-performance core, and that’s this here and that’s boson and just for you know comparison purposes.
You know you can look at that compared to the the Tau and see you know it’s, a dramatic reduction in size, weight and also in power in terms of its electronic. This core offers the same resolutions that you can get with a towel.
So you can get it in Q, VGA and VGA resolutions, but it’s, so much smaller and lighter as a result of smaller pixels, better packaging, much more efficient electronics – and this also has a very high level of signal processing capability inside the court.
So we can start to do things like very high level image processing to improve picture quality, but we can also run some artificial intelligence algorithms on this core with the processor that’s in it.
So those have been. You know big developments on the core front. Flir is now a drone company. We acquired procs dynamics towards the tail end of last year. Interestingly, proct was one of our first lepton OAM customers, so they developed this tiny little helicopter for military application and wanted to put a thermal imager on it, did an industry-wide survey and came to the conclusion.
There was nothing out there other than left and we established a partnership with them and they began integrating them into the black Hornet helicopter. It’s, really quite remarkable when you see that I’m still thinking back to the day when the principles of procs 9 AMEX were here actually at the facility were in the parking lot just outside here.
Flying it, the helicopter was hand launched. It was literally within 10 feet and I was like, where is it? It’s gone and, and we had it flying about a kilometer way outside one of the industrial buildings here sort of looking in the building, and it was just remarkable, both thermal and visible, a kilometer away and then, when it comes back, it’s, the same thing: everybody’s, looking in the sky for it and the next thing you know it’s 6 feet over your head, just amazingly stealthy.
If, when I first saw it frankly, the first thing I said to the founder of the company is tell me how this is different than a toy helicopter and he’s. Actually, the inventor of the toy RC helicopter, but the reality is it’s entirely different, I mean every single element of this is custom-designed and honed for size, weight, power and flight dynamics.
It’s, really an amazing flying machine and really proved that point. We’re talking about something that flies a lepton IR thermal camera, a visible camera and it weighs three sheets of paper. That is amazing.
Now, as you know here at the Roswell flight, this group, we love drones, and I would so much like to try out one of these black Hornet. I’d, be happy to trade. You this blade MMC x2 helicopter, which I believe is about the same size and it’s, actually a little larger yeah yeah yeah.
So I’m sure. If you’d, be willing to make that trade. I will have this on the shelf. Just give me a call any time we can meet the parking lot. I’m going to take that under advisement. Okay, the PD 100 is at a different price point.
We’ll. Take that under it all right well, thank you. Thank you. Should we be looking to fleer to have other actual platforms moving beyond sensors into the space of having your own flying machines? We want to get sensors in the air providing data back to our customers.
That is useful and to extent that there’s. An airframe involved in that we’ll, make a decision about how we can best execute it. You know from a horizontal standpoint: we today, you know, sell the duo product the view onic line.
We sell cores and components to other suppliers. We have the partnership with DJI, so that then use xt has come out of that and there’ll. Be more to come in that arena as well, but as we look at the business from a vertical standpoint, you know we start looking at system solutions where we want to provide an airframe, a sensor software to get a job done.
We’re, going to be offering a complete solution that gets the mission accomplished, not just you know as a flying machine. Well, that makes perfect sense, not that we don ‘ T love flying machines.
Well, Andrew. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. I really appreciate it, and I also want to just extend our appreciation on behalf of the whole Roswell flight ghostery team, for everything you’ve done to support us just such a thrill to have the opportunity to work with with your company and to Be able to share what you’re doing with the world.
It’s great, to have a competent third party, that’s out there objectively evaluating a technology, and we really appreciate it. Why have you thanks so much again? Really appreciate it, my pleasure and from FLIR headquarters in Wilsonville Oregon.
This is the Roswell flight test, crews signing off rude [, Music, ], [, Music, ]