Vodafone Group has tested the Elistair Safe-T tethering station to support the UAS-provision of 4G coverage in areas with no cellular coverage, the company announced on 17 October.
A UAS tethered to the Safe-T station and equipped with a network device can fly for hours while offering coverage with no risk of interference in the network or loss of the UAS.
The company has been experimenting in an uncovered area of northern Andalucía with mobile relays mounted on the Elistair Safe-T tethering station.
The relays are based on an adapted 4G Vodafone CrowdCell. Using the Elistair tethering system, the UAS was able to hover in position at up to 80m above ground level for periods of over a day. In areas where there was no coverage, the solution delivered 4G coverage of up to three megabits per second. The solution can also connect local users without the need to route the call through the main macro network and can offer video streaming for surveillance purposes.
Elistair Safe-T has been approved for tethered flights by French Civil Aviation (DGAC).
It is hoped the system could be marketed for deployment during emergency situations , such as following natural disasters in areas where there is no cellphone coverage.