Successful Tethered Drone Project for higher Safety and Security via long-lasting Air Surveillance

13 December 2023 | Zürich, Switzerland

Tethered drones represent cost-effective unmanned aerial vehicles designed for both commercial and military applications. It is expected that the tethered drones Market is poised to exceed USD 824.56 billion by 2030, exhibiting a remarkable Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 39.2% during the projected period (Source: Research Layer’s analysis in September 2023).  

Elistair’s world-leading aerial surveillance technology  provides continuous, timely and actionable intelligence to help teams in the field protect lives and assets. The company was founded in 2014 and since then the team is committed to understanding the daily life, missions, and problems of security forces and soldiers to provide them with reliable and powerful solutions adapted to their needs.

The Orion advanced tethered UAS provides timely and actionable intelligence. With its unique persistent safety architecture, The Orion is a dedicated tethered drone system built to endure extended flight times. In less than 15 minutes, gain situational awareness of an area by deploying the Orion in an ISR or tactical communications role.

As part of a project between Elistair and FAST Systems for a military customer the integration of the Orion into the TERRA 4D platform was successfully completed. Operated from FAST’s user-friendly TERRA 4D interface, the drone was fully controlled for manual or automatic launches, conducting pre-defined flight missions. The drone could be triggered by other sensors or systems when an intrusion was detected by perimeter devices. During missions, the operator monitored and controlled the drone’s gimbal just like any other PTZ camera. When the mission was finished, the drone landed automatically while all meta data of the flight had been recorded in the TERRA 4D data base. Powered and controlled through the tether, the Orion remained on station for 50h ensuring secure data transfer and protection against jamming and interference.

Features and Benefits demonstrated during the Tethered Drone Project

  • Up to 50h continuous air surveillance
  • Fly day-into-night missions using EO/IR sensor providing up to 10km detection range
  • Set up a temporary 100m mast to overcome connectivity issues over distance or uneven terrain
  • Read GPS coordinates and display position on 3D GIS map
  • Read and display UAV system health status (battery, events)
  • UAV control to start, land, set height etc.
  • Read absolute camera/gimbal orientation
  • Playback video stream (VLC)
  • Gimbal PTZ control
  • Actionable intelligence by automatic correlation with other subsystems, e.g. perimeter and seismic sensors

TERRA 4D Plug-In

Elistair’s tether station was connected via an IP network with TERRA 4D like any other sensor or subsystem. The gimbal attached to the Orion streamed live video directly to the TERRA 4D user client. It was controlled through a specific plug-in that provided the bi-directional communication with the drone and the gimbal. The plug-in module monitored the system status thanks to drone telemetry data. Alarms triggered by other 3rd party subsystems caused TERRA 4D to automatically start the Orion drone and directed the gimbal to alert points.

"Combining the capabilities of the Orion tethered UAS with the FAST Systems TERRA 4D platform has enabled our military end user to access live, unlimited aerial data in an actionable and contextualized manner, while significantly reducing the typical workload associated with drone deployment." said Guihem de Marliave, CEO and Co-Founder of Elistair.

Elistair and FAST Systems are committed to expand the cooperation for tethered drone solutions in the future. The experiences gathered during the successful project in 2023 will be leveraged for the integration of the Khronos UAV next year when this new drone from Elistair will be connected to TERRA 4D through the upcoming SDK/API. Such fully integrated TERRA 4D solutions together with Elistair’s Khronos UAV will serve demanding customers all over the world significantly increasing their safety and security.

Vertical Markets

  • Seaports and Airports
  • Energy Utilities (Oil & Gas, Wind- and Solar parks)
  • Critical Industrial Facilities
  • Public Safety
  • Border Protection and Military Camps

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