Is Thermal Imaging Technology Becoming More Accessible?

Is Thermal Imaging Technology Becoming More Accessible?

Think back over the last 20 years about thermal technology and who owned most of the market share, and you’d probably go to the police and military. As the aughts passed and the 2010s began to take shape, more folks gained access to this technology — such as hunters in pursuit of coyotes.

Today, due to innovation around technology, thermal imaging is now accessible to a wide network of users, from overlanders to mobile security and many more in between.

One of the best innovators and a leader in thermal imaging products is NightRide Thermal, a New York-based company that produces vehicle-mounted cameras. Manufactured to different specifications, each model provides high-quality images, keeping users safe no matter the type of adventure they’re on.

Yet, what units are best for which applications? Here’s a quick breakdown of each unit and who will benefit the most from them.

NightRide 360 Classic and HighRes

The 360 Classic is NightRide’s bread-and-butter model and is a well-rounded unit for most users.

Despite it being the base model, the 360 Classic sports a high-definition camera with a 384-by-288 micro-bolometer sensor and, with a 28-degree field of view angle, this provides a clear image and a significant range.

If you need extra range, consider the Classic Telephoto or the HighRes units. The Classic Telephoto model has the same internals while providing a tighter field of view for a more detailed look, while the HighRes sports the best sensor on the market, a 640-by-512 micro-bolometer. Need that tighter field of view and clear views at long distances? The HighRes Telephoto has that tight 12-degree view to suit that need.

Each unit is rated as IP67 and is constructed with top-of-the-line magnet mounts, ensuring that, once it’s attached to a vehicle, it won’t shift around or get damaged by inclement weather. Each unit provides both WiFi and Ethernet for easy connection to your cell phone or tablet and connects to vehicle power through the cigarette lighter adapter, providing ease of use so you can spend more time focusing on what’s in front of you.

The 360 Classic and HighRes models are excellent for first responders, hunters, and other outdoor users, as well as those working in security, search and rescue, construction, and transport.

NightRide Trailblazer and Trailblazer 640

The NightRide Trailblazer and Trailblazer 640 units are NightRide’s most versatile products on the market. With a sleek, compact design, the Trailblazer is quick to set up and can operate on any vehicle that uses a standard battery.

As noted, the quick setup sets the Trailblazer apart from other thermal optics available, as the included hood mount tightens down with a screwdriver, and the power is sourced from the vehicle’s battery.

The Trailblazer base model comes with a market-standard 384-by-288 micro-bolometer sensor and provides the user with a 28-degree field of view, exactly like the NightRide 360. One step up from its larger counterpart, however, is the Trailblazer’s IP69 waterproof rating, the best currently on the market.

The 640 model comes with an upgraded sensor, providing that long-distance view, but with the same field-of-view as the base model, meaning users will be able to see more at a higher resolution.

The Trailblazer is excellent for hunting and outdoor applications, as its small size is great for ATVs and UTVs, as well as those who don’t want to add a larger unit to their vehicle, such as overland campers and motorcyclists. Its simple setup and low profile also make it great for everyday drivers who need better vision and control, such as new and elderly operators.

NightRide Sentinel and Sentinel 640

Although the cameras mentioned above are for everyday civilian operations, NightRide also provides a model designed with the first responder in mind: the Sentinel.

The Sentinel base model comes with the standard sensor and 28-degree field-of-view but rotates 360 degrees for a full view of a first responder’s situation. Further, the Sentinel can be mounted on a fender, the roof, or a light bar, adding to its versatility for any application.

The Sentinel 640 maintains all of these qualities with the high-resolution sensor, and both models come with top-of-the-line seals.

NightRide thought one step ahead in this category as well, designing three spotlight mounts — the PRO-SL 204, PRO-SL 640, and PRO-SL S14 — to help police and search and rescue workers sense heat signatures as far as a quarter mile down the road in a simple, smart design.

Final thoughts on thermal imaging

So, the answer to the question, is thermal imaging technology becoming more accessible, is a resounding, “Yes.”

Although price points are still pushing the higher end for some products in this bubble, NightRide provides users with affordable, long-lasting units well worth the cost. They also offer special financing plans through Shop Pay, making it even easier for customers to join the NightRide family, no matter the reason they need a thermal optic.