Night Vision vs. Thermal Imaging Explained

Night Vision vs. Thermal Imaging Explained

Posted by Speedir Thermal Vision on 24th Jun 2019

night vision vs thermal imaging explained infographic

We’ve all heard of night vision. This once military-grade tech is the stuff of spy movies and undercover gadgets. What secret agent didn’t don a pair of night vision goggles during their stakeout? Movie cliches aside, what exactly is night vision, and how does it differ from Speedir’s chosen tech of choice for driving safety: thermal imaging?

night vision vs thermal imaging explained

Night vision devices work using the same technology as standard cameras but at greater magnification. These systems scan night settings and absorb any present visible light. This light is then magnified and portrayed through images with a greenish hue (think of the cameras used on ghost hunting shows). Night vision systems are useful for picking up objects in active nighttime settings that otherwise could not be identified by standard daytime cameras.

Overall, night vision cameras - while traditionally portrayed as high-performing and exclusive - are actually widely available to the general public. Consumers can pick up a night vision driving car camera for a cheap price, albeit lower quality than an infrared (IR) camera.

thermal driving cameraAll that said, what exactly is infrared (IR) imaging? Also known as thermal imaging, these devices are actually not cameras at all, but high-performing scanners that absorb the heat signatures in a field of vision and relay that data into an image. Thermal cameras require no visible light to function, as they rely solely on temperature. This makes them ideal for nighttime driving, low-light settings, as they perform no differently based on road illumination. For a fuller, in-depth look at thermal imaging, feel free to check out our Thermal Imaging Platform page.

Generally speaking, thermal cameras provide more nighttime visibility than night vision cameras because infrared systems require zero light to function. That said, thermal car cameras are also usually higher priced. This is what makes Speedir™ Thermal Cameras so rewarding to the everyday consumer; our systems are both top tier and reasonably priced, giving our customers the best tools for driving safety while keeping costs at a minimum.

If you’d like to learn more about our unique infrared cameras and its nighttime capabilities, please feel free to explore our website at or contact us at!