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AFR Drone


spring 2017


Flir systems

Strategic Design

10 weeks


umeå university

The last project of the year, which began with 5 study trips to different locations: firefighters, a farm, border patrol, ECU and the police precinct. Here we were on the look-out for problems that could be solved with infrared, as FLIR assigned us to find a new market that the company could enter with their infrared technology. Throughout the whole course we also had exercises in developing and following design language with a guest lecturer, Alex Liebert.

collaboration  |  about 

flir systems ab

Worlds’ largest company designing and manufactoring infrared and imaging sensors for recreational, military, aviation and marine use.

To suggest a new market for FLIR Systems to enter, by finding a relevant problem and solving it by including infrared technology.
Front Page 2_edited.jpg

This method uses infrared sensors for seeing surface temperatures of objects, even in complete darkness. Due to this  property, thermal imaging can also be used for nightvision.

Thermal imaging

field research

Farmen 2.jpg

places visited

  • Coast guard

  • Police department

  • Ambulance operators

  • Fire station

  • Local farm


chosen problem  |  first responders


patrolling officer, Umeå, Peter

“The biggest problem is that we communicate through radio and have no direct knowledge of the scene - only relying on the initial emergy call.”

issues with emergency calls

  • The vitnesses on scene can be unreliable due to skewed memories caused by trauma or shock.

  • The phone call often leaves the responders with little or wrong knowledge of the situation.

  • The situation might change between the call and arrival of first personnel.

  • Once there, it’s difficult to get and maintain a visual overview of the emergency situation.


proposed solution  |  Autonomous drones

drone1 (1).jpg
  • Live information within minutes

  • Can reach difficult places 

  • Continous situation overview 

  • Easier to find people, liquids, fire

why autonomous drone

AFR Drone - Stations.jpg
Cost drone + station
~500.000 SEK
Range radius
~15 km
Max. arrival time
4 min 30 sec

Total amount: 

~250 M SEK

police spending on vehicles in 2016

Cost / police car:​

0.5 - 1 M SEK

New cars per year:

300 - 400 vehicles

4-5 drone stations could cover most of the city, for the cost of around 4-5 patrol cars.


ideation  |  strategic excercises

An exploration of the design language of Flir, their departments and their corresponding competitors, mapped on various boards.

visual expression mapping

V.E.M. Boards
This excercise was done in groups over two days, finding common themes and gaps in the visual expressions on relevant products. 
Common Core Monday.jpg

An excercise where the envisioned design language is projected onto a cube and cylinder, which is then used as a reference when designing the final product.

common core

sketching and modelling

The drone's shape was difficult to sketch properly freehand, so models, illustrator and underlays were used to explore the form and details.

AFR Drone - Model 2.jpg
AFR Drone - Model 1.jpg
AFR Drone - Sketches.jpg

Result  |  details & features

AFR Drone - Size.jpg
Wingspan 1400 mm
AFR Drone - 1.jpg

Good stability, even in windy weather

Durable and safe (can lose one motor)

Long flight time (40-50 min)

Achieves high speeds (80-100 km/h)

Large lifting capacity

why hexacopter

AFR - Cam HD.jpg
HD Camera
AFR - Cam IR.jpg
FLIR infrared
Crucial information
Combined with the fast arrival times, these three aids help first responders make informed decisions.
AFR - Cam Night.jpg
FLIR nightvision

Time benefit

As seen below, in most cases the drone arrives several minutes before a patrol vehicle. These minutes can be vital in emergency situations and help make relevant decisions.

AFR Drone - 10.jpg
AFR Drone - Time Benefit.jpg
6.1 km
1 min 40 sec
7-8 minutes
4.3 km
2 min 35 sec
6-7 minutes
Urban area:  ~6 minutes
Patrol car:        
On highway:  ~4 minutes
Patrol car:         
AFR Drone - 6.jpg
Prolonged lifespan
The docking station is climate controlled to battle harsh weather and long inactivity.
AFR Drone - 4_edited.jpg

The docking station is designed with a small footprint and hard to reach active area. This helps position the drone in the best strategical place possible.

docking station

AFR Drone - 7.jpg
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