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Delivering Power to Tethered UAVs

By Mark Patrick, Mouser Electronics

There is a markedly rising prevalence in tethered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). These units can be employed in a multitude of potential scenarios where a means of continuously delivering data from an airborne source is required. These can be in relation to public surveillance, border security, emergency response to natural disasters, military reconnaissance, smart agriculture, traffic monitoring, TV broadcasting from sports/music events and various other applications. The fact that they are tethered has several major plus points, with less piloting skill being required and authorisation being easier to obtain (as there is less risk of the UAV drifting into areas of airspace where it is prohibited from entering).

Tethered UAV platforms can be positioned at heights that are several hundred meters above the ground, and in some cases they will need to remain in the air for periods of up to 24 hours. The objective of the following article is to look at the numerous engineering challenges associated with the powering of tethered UAVs – especially as the demands being placed upon them are now starting to ramp up considerably.

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