Tethered Drone Systems in real world applications
One of the limitations of battery-powered drones is the relatively short flight times before the drone pilot must land and swap batteries. Although the technology is improving (as we've seen with the DJI Matrice 300's up to 55 minutes) and new "hybrid" gas-powered drones are being developed, there is still a need for a secure and reliable solution. Tethered drone systems enable drone operators to stay in the air for hours at a time.
Elistair is a leading tethered drone system manufacturer that offers a tethering station compatible with 20 different drones, including DJI. Products from Elistair include the Light-T 4 smart tether system. The system is built in a rugged case designed for traveling. The smart tether system automatically manages the tension of the tether line to prevent tangling and snags. The Light-T system's cable length is 70 meters allowing for 70m (229 feet) hovering altitude - which is plenty for most use cases.
The Light-T system requires a 1200w (1.2kW) power source; we used a 3000w gas generator in our situation, which was more than sufficient. The battery module (air module) is plugged in like a regular battery. For safety, a standard battery is installed in the second bay, which will allow the operator to land safely incase the tether fails.
How much does a tether system cost? Expect to invest upwards of $15,000 USD for the Elistair Light-T tether system
Our client from a sports entertainment company and was looking for a portable and safe solution to broadcast video. This is conventionally done from tower structures built into sporting arenas. The structures are expensive and are a liability because they require the camera operator to climb in and out. The fixed position of these structures also limited the possible camera angles to be captured.
We used a DJI Matrice 200 V2 drone with a Zenmuse Z30 camera. We chose the Z30 for its 30x optical zoom capabilities; this allows us to keep a safe distance from the horses while attaining close-up footage for the competition judges. The tethered power system enabled us to stay in the air for extended periods of time and capture high quality footage without needing to constantly land and change out batteries.
One of the advantages of tethered drones is that some RPAS & FAA regulations do not apply to tethered drones - reducing the training, certification, and authorization requirements for operators.
Various industries and professionals can use tethered drone systems, including:
- Security agencies
- Public safety agencies
- Police departments
- Fire departments
We are authorized dealer for Elistair and DJI. Contact us for custom solutions and tethered drone packages that suit your needs.