Sierra-Olympic Technologies (SOTI), experts in thermal imaging technology, introduces a powerful option for infrared sensors — infrared camera systems — on drones for surveillance applications with the Ventus Micro.
Sierra-Olympic designs, manufactures, and distributes leading-edge infrared camera systems, components, and total imaging solutions for defence contractors, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), camera integrators, and the security / surveillance industry.
Because many of the cameras and systems are regulated under the US EAR regulations, they are non-ITAR controlled.
The company specialises in high-performance, image-optimised, and cost-effective system solutions for shortwave infrared (SWIR), mid-wave infrared (MWIR) and long-wave infrared (LWIR) imaging. The applications are numerous: military, security, wide-area surveillance, long-range surveillance, laser detection, maritime, airborne reconnaissance, natural resource imaging, thermography, radiometry, industrial imaging, laboratory research, video production, optical gas imaging (OGI), etc.
Many have speculated that operators and organizations are ultimately more interested in the data they are capturing with a drone than the drone itself. Yet, since data is the new fascination, drones will continue to be a crucial part in extracting value from the data, because of its technological ability to capture information faster, safer, and less expensive. With the addition of Ventus Micro, Sierra-Olympic has offered drone operators a very powerful mid-wave infrared (MWIR) continuous zoom camera option.
The Ventus Micro features 640 x 512 x 10 um pixel pitch, long-life HOT MWIR core with a custom F3.6 16-180 mm folded optic, all come in a miniaturized package, which is designed to fit into a six-inch articulating volume. The Ventus Micro was originally conceived for the airborne customers of Sierra-Olympic and was designed to create options for users by providing a smaller and lighter infrared camera system that is not found anywhere else on the market.
Chris Johnston, Sierra-Olympic Technologies President, speaks to the uniqueness of many of their products:
“We do not know of any comparable products. The market is fragmented where sensor vendors and lens vendors each vie for sales. Most integrators will be barraged with 3 or 4 sensor options, and similar lens options, or no lens options and a custom development. It is incredibly risky, expensive, and time consuming to develop integrated MWIR systems this way. We have supplied enough systems to know the difficulties of separately addressing sensors and lenses independently. Many can scratch the surface, but Sierra-Olympic has the experience to address projects in an integrated sense. Ventus Micro is just an example of one of our developments.”*
Additional developments have only strengthened the reputation of Sierra-Olympic Technologies as a leader in the drone space due to the options associated with their thermal imaging systems. Sierra-Olympic has sold over 4,000 mid-wave infrared cameras during the last decade and more than 90% were for airborne applications. In fact, the focus of airborne applications is to get the greatest performance possible per unit gram.
Johnston told Commercial UAV News:
“The original requirement was to provide a MWIR camera with at least 10X zoom and a narrow HFOV of 2 deg or better that would fit into a 150mm articulating volume. Ventus Micro achieves this. Ten years ago, we shipped >1000 MWIR systems with similar optical attributes that weighed >1500gm and was designed for a 280mm articulating volume. Ventus Micro is about a 2X improvement in performance per unit gram and volume. It is also less expensive. There have always been applications driven by the performance/gram-volume equation and always will be.”*
The Ventus Micro is in the beginning stages of opening up opportunities in tethered multi-rotor surveillance systems and applications and is working on dozens of airborne projects and supplied thousands of MWIR systems.
Sierra-Olympic Technologies’ (SOTI’s) introduction of the powerful option for infrared camera systems on drones for surveillance applications with the Ventus Micro is a leap forward for users. Its applications are numerous with its leading-edge infrared camera systems, components, and total imaging solutions. These imaging solutions are highly valued by defence contractors, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), camera integrators, the security / surveillance industry, etc.With the addition of Ventus Micro, Sierra-Olympic has offered drone operators a very powerful mid-wave infrared (MWIR) continuous zoom camera option.