Dronesurvey Asia is pleased to announce that we’re now bringing Elistair tethered drone systems to Hong Kong and Macau. Elistair is the leading provider of smart tethered systems for persistent unmanned aerial surveillance, monitoring, reconnaissance, and inspection. Elistair systems are already being deployed by major industrial groups and government agencies in over 40 countries. Whether you already own a drone or are looking for a turnkey system, Elistair has the right solution for persistent, extended duration drone operations.
Why tether a drone to the ground? What’s the point of connecting a drone like a kite? Aren’t you restricting its capacity to move?
Well, yes. To a certain extent you are restricting lateral movement. But there are two key advantages in a tether system, useful across a range of aerial applications:
- Extended Flight Duration: a drone can be powered from the ground via the tether giving it almost unlimited flight duration. By overcoming the limitations of battery power, a drone can be kept aloft for hours or days at a time, giving operators the ability to conduct aerial surveillance, monitoring, reconnaissance, video broadcast or inspection for extended periods. The Elistair tether system converts and regulates an incoming power source – which can be from the mains, or a field generator – regulating and sending power to the drone at the right wattage and voltage, matching that specific drone’s requirements. If there’s an interruption in the mains supply, a backup battery inside each Elistair unit provides sufficient power to the drone to land safely.
- Secure Data Link: in addition to almost unlimited flight duration, the tether provides a secure, reliable, wired data link between the drone and the ground, at up to 200Mbs. This is particularly useful in emergency service, police surveillance, or outside broadcast situations, where data security and uninterrupted video feed integrity are vital.
Who’s Using Tethered Drones?
Tethered drones provide significant benefits for aerial observation operations across a number of public and private sectors, including;
- aerial surveillance,
- border observation,
- emergency incident management,
- traffic monitoring,
- pollution monitoring and measurement,
- industrial inspections,
- live broadcasting,
Looking at some of these applications in more detail…
Emergency responders and firefighters must act quickly to secure a scene and prevent further spread of the incident or fire. Tethered drones are flexible and quick enough to deploy by one operator, and provide an immediate aerial view of the scene. Rescue teams can instantly conduct and coordinate operations with a live overview of the environment and risks. IR cameras on a drone can both track the progress of a fire and maintain a visual on the location of firefighting teams.
Tethered drones offer an immediate and persistent “eye in the sky” over inaccessible areas. In Hong Kong, there are clear benefits to be had in search & rescue scenarios across our more remote and mountainous country parks, where foot or vehicle access is often difficult.
Drones deployable in adverse weather conditions can provide assistance to emergency responders by scanning large areas in considerable detail, identifying dangers and spotting casualties from a distance. Tethered drones can cover large areas, and be up for several hours; allowing risk assessments can be carried out and safe routes to be identified through unstable terrain, greatly enhancing safety for emergency personnel. Compact, lightweight and quick to set up by a single operator, Elistair’s tethered systems can be deployed in the most demanding of environments.
Tethered UAV systems are also the perfect platform for ‘pop up’ telecommunications by acting as airborne antennas. They enable the creation of temporary, wide-ranging networks including: cellular, wifi, high-frequency radio and 3G/4G. Thanks to secure, high-speed data transfer via the tether cable, Elistair systems are particularly suited for facilitating emergency communications.
Structural and Industrial Inspection
Tethering a drone for structural and industrial inspection can also provide distinct advantages across a number of inspection scenarios.
For one thing, a tethered drone provides additional safety and security assurance in critical operation zones, such as busy airports. Elistair drones have been used successfully for structural inspection of terminal buildings and air-bridges at Paris Orly and Charles de Gaule airports (see video below). Elistair’s Safe-T is the only system to be approved for tethered flights by France’s Civil Aviation Authority, the DGAC, and has been successfully deployed by governments, public services and industrial companies in over 40 countries.
In addition, tethered drones have a key role to play in checking the alignment and integrity of Precision Approach Path indicator (PAPI) Lights. The PAPI system primarily provides visual glide slope guidance to pilots in non-precision approaches environment. Located either side of a runway, these lights provide guidance as to the correct angle or glide-slope approach to the runway.
To maintain precision of the PAPI, maintenance is usually done with elevated platforms. The runway has to be shut down while checking is carried out, which can take considerable time. Using a tethered drone fitted with a vertical laser measurement device and precise geo-location, it was possible to perform a precise check on the PAPI system in a fraction of the time taken using traditional methods.
Tethered drones can also be beneficial for a wide range of up-close inspection tasks, whether that be key infrastructure, like bridges, or tall commercial and residential buildings. A tethered drone is under greater control of the operator at all times, while at the same time is able to do an extensive scan of a structure without the need to constantly land and change batteries.
Traffic and Environmental Monitoring
Elistair tethered solutions are ideal for continuous, real-time aerial traffic monitoring, allowing persistent data collection and analysis over long periods. The system with drone is easy to transport and deploy, and move to different locations. A tethered system would be able to gather valuable traffic data (trajectories, behaviours, vehicle types, and so on)… crucial information for transport operators and public authorities.
A tethered drone could also be used for measuring and monitoring air quality and pollution levels across a certain area. Again, the secure data transfer capability ensures uninterruptible data integrity.
Tethered can provide broadcasters with exciting new viewpoints, often inaccessible with conventional cameras. This opens thrilling new fields of application and unique angles for media professionals. Perfectly suited for immersive aerial filming of large outdoor events, such as concerts and sports competitions; Elistair tethered systems provide a new perspective to live filming in a safe manner, because the drone is constantly connected to the ground.
Once again, the secure data transfer capability ensures a high quality, uninterruptible video feed up to 4K at all times.
Tethered drones can play a crucial role in crowd monitoring situations; whether that be an outdoor concert or sports event, a rally, march or demonstration. Any event where large crowd gather a public security is paramount, using a tethered drone again gives that persistent “eye in the sky”, and and enables safe drone operations over large gatherings.
A tethered system can also a play role in successful tactical operations. They allow Force Protection units to make rapid tactical decisions in attack or hostage situations, providing detailed knowledge of their environment due to real-time, fully secured imagery.
The Elistair Range
There are two key tether systems available: the lightweight Lig-T system, with a tether up to 60 in length, and the more heavy duty Safe-T system, with a tether length of up to 100m.
Safe-T is a robust, industrial grade smart tether station for UAVs, compatible with a wide range of drones and payloads. The system features:
- Patented smart Tether Management system, Computer Controlled, fully programmable and remotely actionable
- Outstanding, proven performance (power, weight, data rate and ease-of-use)
- Key safety features and monitoring via the T-Monitor smartphone app
Designed for the most demanding missions,
Safe-T integrates Elistair’s patented ultra-light micro-tether with smart power management, numerous safety features, and leading watt/gram (power to weight) ratio. The Safe-T micro-tether is armoured with kevlar to withstand over 1500 Newtons of traction force, providing an unbreakable and un-jammable data link at up to 200Mb/s. Safe-T already has thousands of hours of reliable flights logged around the globe.
Integrated with various sensors, the Safe-T is continuously checks its status and employs fail-safe procedures in case of anomalies. An embedded WIFI module streams the system status to Elistair T-Monitor application, allowing the operator to monitor its operations from a tablet or PC.
As the name implies, Ligh-T is a smaller, more compact tether system, designed to be easily transportable and deployable on any type of terrain. Compatible with up to 20 drone models, including those from DJI, the Ligh-T offers quick deployment of any drone up to 60m above ground.
Where the Safe-T has a powered tether winch, the Ligh-T has an easy to use manual winch, with a stow-able handle for fast and flexible deployments. The Ligh-T has the following benefits:
- Auto reel-out during deployment
- Fast reel-in for recovery, no power supply needed
- Easy maintenance and cleaning
- Enhanced compactness and sturdiness
In addition to the two tether systems, Elistair offers the Orion drone: an automated, powerful and highly portable tethered drone, designed for continuous aerial day and night surveillance over extended periods over large areas. It is perfectly adapted for demanding law enforcement, private security, public safety and military uses.
Orion is a completely automated, push-button surveillance system, requiring low piloting skills or human intervention during operation. It simply goes straight up and stays in position for as long as needed. Robust and stable, Orion boasts a military-grade day/night surveillance camera, able to cover wide areas up to10km away.
Orion is built to exacting standards, with a fully enclosed, sealed structure and aviation grade propulsion design, Orion can be used in the most demanding weather conditions. More information in this video:
Learn More, or Book a Demo
For a no-obligation demonstration of the Elistair Safe-T in action, or for pricing and more information on any of the Elistair products, please contact us today.