Uninterrupted Tethered Drone Power Supplies

Tethered Drone Systems

FeiyuTech and Elistair Tethered Drone Systems

Tethered Drone Systems

Increased endurance, secure data, and safer flights. 

A tethered drone is a drone which is connected to a power station on the ground. The drone is connected by a wire or cable, which can be stretched to a certain height and can be used to power the drone and payloads and transfer data, safely and securely. Because the data is not being transmitted by radio frequency, it cannot be jammed.

Tethered drones trade lateral movement for increased endurance as they are physically and securely connected to a ground station by a micro-tether, providing the physical security of keeping the drone in place, and essentially providing unlimited flight time. This is compared to the average 25-30 minutes of flight time of a conventional drone flying without tether.

A drone tether is ideal for operations where flight endurance is key and the operational area is minimal. The height of the tether cable or wire can vary, but certain tethered drones can reach several hundred metres of flight altitude.

The ground station can be powered by an incoming source, such as mains electricity or a generator. Backup batteries can be used in the event of a power outage.

A tethered solution has multiple benefits for a wide range of industry verticles. These benefits include:

  • Persistent: Connected to the micro-tether providing power from the ground, drones are able to remain airborne for hours.
  • Cover Wide Areas: With operational heights of 50 to 100 meters, tethered UAVs can provide wide coverage of large events.
  • Secure: The micro-tether provides secure, unjammable, communications immune to interference and enabling a safe, real-time, high-speed data transfer.
  • Overt Deterrence: Tethered UAVs provide an overt surveillance deterrent that disrupts an adversary's freedom of movement and action.
  • Functional: Robust and easily transportable, tethered systems are designed for the field. Quick to use and deploy, it is a simple and effective solution for persistent aerial surveillance.
  • 4K Video Streaming: Secured 4K aerial video-streaming is made possible thanks to Elistair’s micro-tether. The tethered systems allow continuous and interference-free high-quality video broadcast.
  • Flight Safety Assurance: In crowded entertainment events public safety is essential for risk holders. Elistair tethered technologies ensure safe drone operations through a fully controlled and physically secure system.

Which Industries Are Benefiting From Tethered Drones?

How industries are utilising drone tethers

Elistair's tethered drone systems are being deployed for a variety of applications across the world. Here is a breakdown of how certain industries are benefiting from a drone tether.

Government and Defence: A tethered drone can be used for tactical operations monitoring, observation and compound surveillance, and pop-up telecommunications. A tethered drone allows Force Protection Units to make rapid tactical decisions with detailed knowledge of the environment, while high-speed data transfer is suited to pop-up telecommunications in emergency situations. Elistair's tethers can also be easily transported and quickly deployed. 

Public Safety: Public safety crews are deploying tethered drones for a variety of missions, including crisis management, crowd control, firefighting, search and rescue, and emergency telecommunications. A tethered drone is a valuable asset for public safety. As a quick and easy deployment solution, a tethered drone reduces the need to send out a helicopter - which can be a costly alternative. Public safety crews can also access live, airborne images of a scene - ideal for crowd control, surveillance, and evidence gathering.

Telecommunications: A drone tether can be used for pop-up telecommunications and disaster recovery. A tethered drone system is a powerful tool for telecommunications, acting as an airborne antenna, and enabling the creating of temporary networks including cellular, WiFi, high-frequency radio, and 3G/4G signals. The high-speed data transfer of a tether is also well-suited for pop-up telecommunications. When deployed to a disaster area, tethered drones relay immediate images of the area, helping rapid assessments and decision-making.

Traffic Monitoring:  Tethered drones are a key tool for transport operators and public authorities. Because a tethered drone system supports prolonged airtime, this solution can be used for continuous and real-time aerial traffic monitoring, allowing detailed data collection and analysis, which can then be used to drive decision-making.  

Humanitarian Needs:  In times of disaster, a drone tether can be a decisive and critical asset for first responders, local authorities, and governments. A tethered drone system can be deployed to provide an immediate viewpoint of a disaster zone, including inaccessible areas, and utilised to spot casualties, identify dangers, and highlight safety routes - essential for an effective response, and to improve the safety of rescue crews. A tethered drone can also be deployed for a long time, is easily transportable, and can handle demanding environments, making it the ideal solution in the wake of a disaster. Thanks to a tethered drone's ability to act as an airborne antenna, enabling the creation of temporary networks, this solution can be used for emergency and pop-up telecommunications.    

TV Broadcasting:  By deploying a tethered drone, media professionals are able to capture stunning aerial footage of major sporting events and concerts. The drone can be airborne for hours, ensuring none of the action is missed, and the tether provides a safe way to capture live footage.     

Elistair Drone Tethering Systems

Setting A New Standard For Tethered Drones

Elistair's smart tethering systems offer unlimited flight times and uninterrupted power - ideal for persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, as well as high-bandwidth communications.

These sophisticated solutions, compatible with a range of DJI drones, are easy to use and allow operators to keep drones in the air for extended periods of time.

The tethered systems are being used by major industrial companies and government agencies in countries around the world.

which elistair drone tethers are available?

Reliable solutions from the market leader in tethered drone systems.

Safe-T 2

The Elistair Safe-T 2 sets a new standard for tethered drone solutions.

The Safe-T 2 offers up to 2.2kW maximum continuous power and 2.8kW peak power, allowing higher flights and heavier payloads, and enabling operators to cover larger areas with a single system.

Key features include:

  • 125m swappable micro-tether
  • IP54 weather-resistant rating
  • 2.8kW unlimited secured power
  • Dynamic voltage optimisation
  • Easily integrated and mountable
  • Dual-Comms: Fibre optic and BPL option
  • Compatible with more than 50 drones, including DJI drones

Ligh-T V4

The Elistair Ligh-T 4 is a compact and portable tethering station

The Ligh-T 4 system enables rapid deployment, allowing your drone to be attached to the micro-tether and sent into the air in less than a minute.

Key features include:

  • 70m hovering altitude
  • Automated motorisation
  • 1200W power
  • New hybrid winch system
  • Rapid set-up and deployment
  • 10.5g/m tether weight
  • Compatible with 20 drones, including DJI aircraft

What Is The Difference Between The Elistair Safe-T 2 And Ligh-T 4?

The Safe-T 2 v the Ligh-T 4

The Safe-T 2 and the Ligh-T 4 are Elistair's latest tethering options, building on the success of the Safe-T and the Ligh-T range.

The Safe-T 2 and the Ligh-T 4 are both reliable drone tethers, but there are differences between them, offering different options for different mission requirements.

The Safe-T 2 is Elistair's newest tethering solution and it sets a new standard. The Safe-T 2 has a micro-tether which can extend to 125m and can offer unlimited secured power up to 2.8kW. It is also IP54-rated, making it a reliable solution in challenging weather conditions, and offers fibre optic and BPL dual-communication. Its tether weight of 25g/m allows for higher flights and heavier payloads. The Safe-T 2 is compatible with more than 50 drones.

In contrast, the Ligh-T 4 is a more compact tethering solution, weighing less and being smaller than the Safe-T 2 - making it ideal for rapid deployment and making it more transportable. The Ligh-T V4's tether extends to a maximum length of 70m and its tether weight is 10.5g/m. The Ligh-T 4 provides 1.2kW of power, and can be integrated with 20 drones. 

which drones can be used with an elistair tether?

Rapid connection for a range of commercial drones.

Elistair's range of tethers can be deployed with a wide range of commercial drones, including those in the DJI eco-system, thanks to specific air modules.

In fact, the Safe-T 2 is compatible with more than 50 drones, while the Ligh-T 4 can be used with 20 different drone models.

Both the Elistair Safe-T 2 and the Ligh-T 4 can be integrated with the DJI M300 RTK, DJI M200 Series V2 and DJI M200 Series V1, as well as the Inspire 2, and the Matrice 100. 

tethered drone use cases

Learn more about how tethered drones are being used in the real world.

Elistair Tether Deployed For Champions League Final

An Elistair drone tether was deployed for the 2019 Champions League Final in Madrid, Spain.

An Elistair Safe-T was used to provide permanent live aerial video support. The advantages were:

  • The tethered drone was airborne for eight hours before, during, and after the game.
  • Overcame the need of changing batteries 20 times and landing the drone every 30 minutes.
  • The drone operated at a height of 50 metres, hovering at a safe distance from the stadium and spectators. This provided a vital view of the area, enabling crews to react to any incident. The tether also prevented the risk of the drone flying away.
  • The plug-and-fly and automated micro-tether allowed flexibility during the mission. Public safety crews were able to set up the equipment and start the flight in a matter of minutes.

"The tethering system was key."

National Police needed eyes in the sky to control the stadium surroundings during the eight hours of deployment. The tethering system was the key to achieve this mission.  José Calcedo, UMILES Group Commercial Director.

Tether Deployed For Paris Airport Maintenance

French airport authority, Groupe ADP, deployed the Elistair tethered drone solution to help with essential maintenance and checking of the Precision Approach Path Indicator (a four-light system aiding safe landings) at Paris-Le Bourget airport. The benefits of using the Safe-T solution were:

  • The system satisfied aeronautical standards in terms of safety, speed, completion, and efficiency.
  • The drone flew tethered while aeroplanes performed their normal operations, meaning there was no need to close part of the airport or stop air traffic.
  • The modulable system could be adjusted for different kinds of maintenance tasks.
  • Using the micro-tether, the drone could fly in a controlled volume from 50m to 100m, and stay airborne for a prolonged period of time.
  • By transferring collected video footage through the micro-tether, the data did not suffer from interference.

"Elistair tethers ensure the respect of security standards."

"Enabling drone usage within a complex and live airport environment, the Elistair tethered drone stations ensure the respect of security standards set by airports and the French Civil Aviation Authority."  Rémy You, Innovation Manager at Groupe ADP.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions, answered

What is a tethered drone?

A tethered drone is an unmanned aircraft which is securely attached to the ground by a wire or cable at all times while it is flying. In the case of the Elistair tethering solutions, the tether provides a power supply to the aircraft.

What are the advantages of using a tethered drone over an untethered drone?

There are many advantages. Securing a tether to a drone improves the safety of the drone mission, as the tether prevents any fly away of the aircraft. This is especially important during missions which are close to buildings or other critical infrastructure. As Elistair's tethering stations provide power to the connected drone, the UAV is able to stay airborne for a prolonged period of time, greatly exceeding the endurance of a drone which is flying by itself. Another advantage of using a tethering system is that data can be transfered quickly and securely from the drone. 

Why choose an Elistair tethering system?

Elistair is the market leader when it comes to tethered drone systems. The latest model, the Safe-T 2, sets a new standard for drone tethers. As the industry leader, Elistair's systems are trusted by organisations around the world. Elistair's client list includes the UK Ministry of Defence, US Army, New York State Police, and Vodafone. Elistair's range of tethers are compatible with drones in the DJI ecosystem.

How much is an Elistair drone tether?

For more information on pricing and availability, contact Heliguy's enterprise team on 0191 296 1024 or email info@heliguy.com

What are the UK laws about operating a tethered drone and are tethered drones legal?
Tethered drones are subject to the same basic operating regulations as all other unmanned aircraft and, where necessary, are subject to the same approvals process, but the fact that the operation is tethered can be used as a significant mitigation factor when applying for an operating approval, thus greatly simplifying the overall process.  If you are planning to conduct a tethered UAS operation, click here for more information.