Owing to the advancements in Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) technology over the past decade, uncooled microbolometers have witnessed an increase in their adoption in IR cameras and have had a disruptive effect on the military and defense sector, enhancing the capabilities of defense surveillance and threat detection systems at a significant pace. Incorporation of IR cameras in military UAVs, which have propelled the use of IR cameras, has been possible due to microbolometer detectors. Moreover, despite all the automotive safety breakthroughs over the past decade, drivers still face potential hazards during conditions of darkness or obscured visibility such as is present with fog, heavy rain, or snow. With ADAS, being the most significant factor of autonomous cars, microbolometer IR cameras for night vision systems in automobiles will be increasingly incorporated.
Governments to adopt IR Camera for Military Operations
IR cameras were heavy and difficult to handle. However, with the advent of microbolometers, IR cameras can now be easily integrated into confined spaces, such as cars, UAVs, and other handheld devices, enhancing security and surveillance applications. The need for continual and rigorous surveillance in the military is likely to provide an opportunity for these solutions to be used by the governments. The governments across the world have already deployed drone cameras in large numbers, which cover around 100 km of area. The US Department of Defense, for the fiscal year 2018, has put a request for approximately USD 6.97 billion for drone procurement, R&D, and system-specific construction. These UAVs have again provided IR imaging with several growth opportunities.
Technological Developments in Microbolometers to boost the IR Camera Market
Owing to the technological developments, the companies have started offering High-definition (HD) and high-resolution IR cameras. The Vayu HD, developed by Sierra-Olympic Technologies Inc. was one of the world’s first Full High-definition uncooled infrared camera capable of 1080p output. It provided unmatched image resolution, sensitivity, and detector quality for the most efficient infrared imagery. Similarly, Xenics NV also introduced the Gobi-384, an uncooled microbolometer camera for thermal imaging, industrial, public service and security applications. This smart infrared camera combined a high-quality camera head, including a lens with onboard DSP-based control and communication, TCP/IP and Camera Link, processing power for intelligent real-time image correction and recognition, and a video interface. Furthermore, FLIR Systems Inc., one of the market leaders, added the Photon 640 to its family of compact thermal imaging cameras. Providing high resolution, the lightweight infrared device offers four times as many pixels on target compared to the Photon 320 model. These shock-resistant uncooled microbolometer cameras have a wide operating temperature range, analog and digital outputs, and optional GigE output.
With the market still being at an initial stage, future of microbolometers in IR cameras and surveillance is expected to witness higher growth, owing to the miniaturization efforts being taken by the companies in the market.
Companies to look out for
The report also examines the role of the leading market players involved in the industry. Some of the key players listed in the study are:
DRS Technologies Inc.
Optris Infrared Sensing LLC
Seek Thermal Inc.
About the IR Camera Market
As per Mordor Intelligence’s analysis, the global IR camera market was valued at USD 3.77 billion in 2017 and is estimated to reach USD 5.91 billion by 2023, registering a CAGR of 7.72% over the forecast period of 2018-2023.