The Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade are evaluating a Cyberquad UAV for potential use in search, rescue and fire spotting operations. A couple of MFB guys brought the UAV down to the LDMFA Field for our Christmas meeting and while it didn't do any flying demonstration we got a chance to see the FPV goggles, thermal imaging camera, remote monitor and gyro tracking camera working.
This UAV has a standard definition colour camera as well as a thermal infra-red camera that are stabilised by a gyro so the cameras will always point at a target no matter the wind conditions. The guys say it copes with 30-40 knot winds and will remain quite stable although battery life is reduced because it has to work much harder to stay in position. It also has goggles and a remote screen for FPV flight.
The MFB may use it for indoor and outdoor applications. Indoor could include search operations through dangerous or difficult to access locations. Apparently a skilled operator can navigate through the width of a door quite easily. While outdoor, the UAV could be used for firespotting or reconnaissance where a crew on the ground might be surrounded by bush. Where the SD colour camera can't penetrate a forest tree top canopy, switching to the thermal camera makes the tree tops disappear and any fire below is easily seen.