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PigeonIR, a forward-thinking remote sensing company based in London, is experimenting with new ways to undertake aerial thermal imaging surveys.

With the crackdown on drone legislation due to fears over public safety, one company has decided to break the mould and try something a little… different? PigeonIR is a new start-up company focused on combining infrared camera cores (“Payloads“) into specially designed harnesses – the result of which allows for a birds-eye view of operations.

As stated in CAP 393 from the CAA, drones are not allowed to be flown within 150m from a congested area and 50m from a building. These restrictions mean that the majority of central london is out-of-bounds for UAV surveys without special safety cases approved. Pigeons, on the other hand, aren’t subject to such legislation.

As unusual as it seems, the young company has been receiving extremely positive results within their first few test flights. The following is a statement from their recent press release:

“We’re pleased to announce that a preliminary survey of a commercial building in central London has successfully been completed utilising one of our advanced aerial systems”

The system, in this case, is a reference to the bespoke harness and IR camera integration used to strap to the platform (pigeon).

“Some elements of the building fabric were left un-captured – primarily due to the pigeon briefly losing focus – but we’re hoping that with further training these momentary lapses can be avoided”

There is currently a team of 4 pigeons in rotation, with each having been subject to rigorous training and assessment. Not only have these run-of-the-mill street-pigeons been trained in the art of homing, they’ve also had to learn the basics of composition in order to ensure images are focused on the subject.

Homing pigeons have been used sucessfully for centuries, and are especially comfortable within the urban environment. However, according to a spokesperson for PigeonIR, it hasn’t always been such a successful operation.

“We briefly tried Hawks as they often appeared to hover over their prey and thus provided a static platform. Unfortunately, they seemed to think the pigeons were supplied as a midday snack and kept dive-bombing them.”

We’re certainly interested to see how this story develops, although we do have our reservations as to the future success of PigeonIR. To find out more information on a regular UAV building survey, please click here.



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