Tech startup Essess has developed what they’re calling “drive-by thermal imaging capabilities” that can help organisations identify and assess their energy inefficiencies and therefore develop specific solutions to address them.
The company sends out vehicles that have been fitted with specialised equipment designed to capture 3D thermal images. The specialised equipment, or ‘thermal rooftop rig’, is a multi-sensor imaging system that includes infrared cameras, radiometric cameras, and a LIDAR (light radar) sensor. The thermal rooftop rig can scan the environment on both sides of the vehicle and cover large areas.
The thermal images captured by the system are stored in a custom-built data recording system, also installed in the vehicle, and then processed at Essess’ office. The company studies the thermal images to identify the location of energy loss in the buildings or in a large geographic area.
Armed with these heat maps, Essess can show utility companies, businesses, municipalities, schools, and other organisations the areas where they can focus their efforts to conserve energy and lower costs.
The startup is a spinoff of research led by Sanjay Parma, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and co-inventor of the technology that the company is using. The research involved using thermal imaging techniques to identify the energy losses in buildings. The startup was founded in 2011 to commercialise the technology.
According to MIT News, Essess has mapped over 4 million houses and buildings in different U.S. cities for research, commercial, and military purposes.