Thermal Imaging in the Automotive Industry

Inspecting Vehicles with Infrared

Using infrared cameras for automotive testing is a more effective way of evaluating components as ut us a non-destructive method of inspections and allows for further tests to be carried out.

Unlike other vehicle safety tests, such as the most popular crash testing. Thermography allows the vehicle to stay intact without wasting money on products to be destroyed right after production.

What can I inspect?

Vehicle Engine –

Thermal cameras can identify abnormalities in car engines by showing you the heat signature of the component, this helps highlight possible issues such as overheating.

Tires and Brakes –

Thermography can spot one-sided braking through routine inspections, the thermographic load must be spread evenly throughout the whole break disc with no groves or rings showing.

Heating Components –

Spot anomalies with heated seats or rear windows by using infrared cameras to detect heat from the wires in windows and seats. If a break of heat flow is detected you then know there is an issue.

Thermal Imaging Sensors for Driving

With thermography constantly being developed further, the introduction of thermal imaging sensors will come at no surprise.

By relying on a system built purely on a variety of sensors, known as LIDAR (light, detection and ranging) as well as radar, and visible light cameras. The technology is able to aid driving, helping to make being on the road much safer through detection in hard to navigate situations.

What are the benefits?

Night vision –

Despite there being fewer vehicles on the road at night, over 40% of accidents happen at night. By having infrared cameras on your car, you can increase the safety of yourself and the passengers in the vehicle, whilst also decreasing the number of accidents.

Reaction Time –

By having added visibility of about 300m, drivers are able to detect sharp corners and bends, as well as obstacles in the road at a much earlier rate.

Early Detection-

Decrease the risk of accidents by detecting speeding vehicles quicker and spotting pedestrians sooner. You no longer have to worry about being blinded by bright lights, or not spotting a person wearing dark clothing. Allowing you plenty of warning before having to slow down or stop.


How does night vision in vehicles work?

The thermal camera that is used in vehicles is known as a passive system; in which the vehicle is equipt with thermal cameras that have the ability to read and detect heat on objects and life forms.

Typical thermal camera systems on vehicles tend to be displayed using a ‘white-hot’ thermal palette to make objects with a hot signature stand out more against the colder temperatures.

FLIR infrared camera for vehicles

FLIR infrared camera for vehicles

What’s the future with thermal imaging?

Like most things, technology is forever evolving and infrared cameras are definitely included in this.

With the future of driverless cars coming even closer, and infrared technology helping this along, advanced security systems and fire management software; we’d say thermal imaging is nowhere near finished yet, with the discovery of more and more avenues to go down every day!