The Application Prospects of Tethered Drones

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Author : Wendy
Update time : 2024-04-29 11:30:11
The Application Prospects of Tethered Drones

Airborne tethered drones are commonly used to provide sustained surveillance capabilities at a given site, applicable to intelligence gathering, video surveillance, reconnaissance, disaster response, public event management, security, and traffic monitoring, among other applications.

1. Extended Video Surveillance
Tethered drones can be equipped with high-definition cameras for extended video monitoring of designated areas or paired with infrared cameras for nighttime surveillance. 
They can provide real-time surveillance over an extensive optical range, featuring 30x optical zoom cameras capable of detecting vehicles and other large objects from as far as 10 kilometers away.


2. Emergency Lighting
Ensuring outdoor lighting is crucial during emergency rescue and nighttime response operations. High-altitude tethered lighting drones represent a novel drone system, functioning as a long-endurance aerial platform that illuminates the ground from great heights. These platforms can support drones carrying payloads ranging from 3 to 45 kilograms, capable of prolonged hovering, typically for over 8 hours, with theoretical potential for continuous operation exceeding 24 hours.

3. Forest Fire Protection
The application of tethered drone technology in forest firefighting effectively addresses many current inadequacies, significantly enhancing the efficiency and precision of forest protection efforts. Tethered drones have flexible takeoff and landing capabilities, enabling them to carry optical, infrared, and other mission equipment. They can transmit live footage of priority zones, fire scenes, and on-site data back to command centers, providing real-time information to support decision-making and minimize fire damage.
Post-fire suppression, tethered drones can carry infrared detection payloads to conduct infrared scans of burned areas, acquiring comprehensive images of the ground temperature distribution within the fire zone, promptly identifying smoldering hotspots, and effectively preventing reignition.


4. Emergency Communications
According to available information, a tethered drone developed by China Telecom has a net payload capacity of 15 kg, a maximum flight altitude of 200 m, and carries 4G/5G base station-like devices. It can perform 24-hour uninterrupted aerial hovering operations, forming a high-altitude base station solution providing voice and data services to users within a 50 square kilometer radius. Within residential areas, it can hover at altitudes between 30 and 200 meters, covering distances of 2 to 20 kilometers, continuously flying for 7×24 hours, and supporting up to 800 concurrent users, with satellite base station upload speeds of up to 30M and download speeds of up to 50M.


5. Public Safety
tethered drones can remain aloft for extended periods, carrying high-definition cameras for prolonged video surveillance at high altitudes, addressing public safety matters.


6. News Gathering
Tethered drones can reach news scenes and maintain hovering for several hours, providing 4K aerial footage of large outdoor events such as sports or music concerts.


7. Communication Relay
Tethered drones equipped with communication relays can establish temporary wide-area networks, propagating cellular, high-frequency radio, Wi-Fi, and 3G/4G signals

8. Support for First Responders and Humanitarian Efforts
In emergencies, tethered drones can assist responders in identifying real-time hazards and victims under adverse weather conditions.


Advantages of Tethered Drone Systems
1. Autonomous Hovering Flight:——Tethered drones can achieve autonomous flight at a certain altitude, allowing operators to focus more on their observation tasks. Airborne tethered drones can operate at altitudes up to 200 meters above ground level.

2. Relaxed Regulatory Requirements: Regulations governing tethered drones are generally less stringent than those for conventional drones. In some countries/regions, tethered drones are not classified as drones due to their fixed position when connected to the ground. In certain nations, users of tethered drone systems are not mandatorily required to register their drones.

3. Controlled Flight Space: Tethered drones operate within a limited spatial area constrained by the tether, significantly simplifying operation. Even laypersons can quickly learn to operate airborne tethered drones. Moreover, since most of the time, these drones hover at a predetermined location, their reliance on GPS navigation is relatively low, greatly reducing the associated risks. Safety is important when operating drones in public areas, and tethered drones offer higher reliability compared to standard drones.

4. Secure Data Transmission: Conventional drones rely on wireless connections, which can occasionally result in flight interruptions or data link loss, colloquially referred to as "crashing." In contrast, communication between a tethered drone's ground station and the aircraft is via a wired line, ensuring immunity from interference and unauthorized interception, making them ideal for sensitive communications.
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