Tethered Drone

The unmanned Aerial Vehicle or Drone is one of the best innovations of mankind. From photography, surveillance, public safety, logistics, law enforcement, agriculture, and many other fields, drones are deployed to ease the work. Though the drone has a variety of advantages the major limitation is flight time. Even the advanced drones have a flight time of 30 minutes only. 

In this drone project, we are going to solve this problem by developing a tethered drone. With tethered drones, the endurance of the flight is increased compared to free-flying drones.

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What is a tethered drone?

Tethered drones use a permanent physical wire which is connected to the ground tether station to get the power supply and commands. Due to the incompetence of fixed wings to hover, the Tether system is suitable for multirotor drones (quadcopter, hexacopter, octocopter). Tethered drones can provide a maximum flight time of 24hrs based on the model. Here the limiting factor is the altitude because the tethered drone has to carry the tether as well. 

The main purpose of using tethered drones is to get persistent data. It is used for surveillance, traffic monitoring, disaster response, security, event management, and in places where RF communication is not possible.

With the data being transmitted via fibre optic cable, drone tether systems are less susceptible to interference and it cannot be jammed like RF signals. Tethered drones can be operated by anyone without any pilot license or piloting experience. Thus disaster response and law enforcement teams can easily deploy the drone without any expert assistance. 

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Project Implementation

As part of this drone project, we are going to develop two systems one is the ground station of the tether system and the drone.

Ground Station

The ground station of the drone tether system will supply the power to the drone and the payload carried. The supply may be given directly from electricity mains or a generator. It is also equipped with a backup battery in case of malfunctions. 

The ground station is also equipped with smart power management, automated tether winding system, and GPS/GNSS positioning to maintain the orientation in unfavourable weather conditions. Below are the components used to build the ground station of the tethered drone:

  • Extension cord
  • AC to DC power supply
  • TVS (Transient Voltage Suppressor)
  • Capacitor

You can build the ground tether station in such a way that it can be paired up with other drone platforms such as DJI, Yuneec, Parrot, etc.

Drone - Now we will develop the aerial system. In this drone project, we are going to develop the drone for fire fighting thus the main aim is to extinguish the fire quickly. The drone is built with a sprayer, to extinguish the fire effectively. There is no requirement for a tank as the water supply can be given through a hose from the ground tank. 

Flight duration is the key advantage of tethered drones and it reduces the technical error and human error as it is connected to the ground station directly. Also, to operate a tethered drone doesn't require any skill or previous experience. 

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Kit required to develop Tethered Drone:
Technologies you will learn by working on Tethered Drone:
Tethered Drone
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2021-07-03

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