An important piece of military-grade equipment just became widely available to the general public. Hadron, a dual sensor module for drone, robotic, and imaging equipment manufacturers, is now available for anyone to purchase.
The Hadron module, designed by thermal imaging company FLIR, was originally designed in close partnership with two American drone companies: Vantage Robotics and Teal Drones. The module is integrated into both of their drones.
Hadron is a two-in-one camera packed into one module, that can be placed on potentially any drone — or any object, for that matter. You get a 12-megapixel visible camera (that’s your standard camera), plus a FLIR Boson 320×240 resolution thermal camera, placed side-by-side — allowing you to collect two types of images of the same subject, at the same time. The camera has a a 60-hertz framerate.
With a dual thermal and visible camera, you can capture heat signatures invisible to the naked eye, plus a traditional 4K video feed in real-time as well.
The Hadron makes dual sensor integration more accessible — and potentially cheaper — for any drone maker. That said, FLIR won’t say how much the Hadron costs — it may vary by customer. You’ll have to contact them to find out, a spokesperson for FLIR told The Drone Girk.
Drone market leader DJI has offered dual thermal sensors for a few years now, beginning with the splashy launch of the Zenmuse XT2 thermal imaging camera (also done in partnership with FLIR) back in 2018. But that camera only works with certain DJI Matrice drones. DJI really democratized thermal cameras on drones with the 2018 launch of the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, which is the standard DJI Mavic but built with a set of side-by-side visual and thermal cameras. It cost just $2,699.
But those solutions have limitations. You’re tied to those specific DJI products which might not work. Maybe the Mavic 2 isn’t robust enough to carry additional payloads you need to transport. Maybe you’re set on buying a drone that’s made in the U.S. Maybe your clients or company are weary of using a drone made in China.
That’s where the Hadron — which is platform agnostic — comes in.
Vantage Robotics uses the Hadron on its micro-gimbal platform featuring proprietary stabilization technology to offering a dual-sensor for existing drone airframes. Teal uses the Hadron on its 2-pound Golden Eagle drone platform. Teal was formerly a consumer-focused drone company, now focused on building military-grade drones, including their Golden Eagle drone built for short-range reconnaissance and situational awareness.
For both Teal and Vantage Robotics, the appeal of Hadron is its small size.
“Hadron is far and away the lightest and smallest combined visible-thermal sensor that has ever been commercially available,” said Tobin Fisher, CEO at Vantage Robotics in a prepared statement.
Smaller size means not just lighter and more compact drones, but improved battery life and maximized flight time on a smaller airframe. The module weighs 43 grams.