A Great Big City

FDNY Debuts New Tethered Drone with Infrared Camera

2017-03-07 FDNY Drone Photos
2017-03-07 FDNY Drone Photos via Official New York City Fire Department (FDNY) on Flickr

After evaluating the technology last year, the FDNY has now successfully used a drone to monitor an active fire.

The FDNY drone is a LiveSky system by Hoverfly that uses a tether from the drone to the ground and relays video to a base station. This gives the drone power to stay in the air for extended amounts of time and allows firefighters to see the scene from above, complete with infrared imagery to see fire movements and act as night vision from up to 200 feet in the air.

Sounds great, but all of this comes in at a staggering $85,000, and the FDNY press release confirms that each flight of the drone within the city still requires FAA approval, but that the process is streamlined down to around 10 minutes.

For a slightly-unfair comparison: $85,000 would buy you a fleet of 170 DJI Phantoms at $500 each.

The video below from a March 6th fire in Crotona Park North in the Bronx shows the infrared image in the top corner, allowing firefighters to see hot spots on the roof that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.

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