A drone that is supplied from the ground by means of a cable can stay in the air for hours at a time. This is ideal for monitoring and security applications. Dronemaker Yuneec recognizes this need from the market with the new X-Stream R1 cable drone system, which is suitable for H520 series drones.

Tethered drone

Especially with emergency services, there is often a need to be able to have a camera in the air for hours. Think of the temporary security of a large area of territory or providing an overview during a fire. The limited flight time of a drone is then a major disadvantage. This can be overcome by supplying the drone with power via a tether (cable). An additional advantage is that the drone cannot fly away due to a malfunction (‘fly-away’).

A tethered drone system consists of a number of basic elements. The ground station contains an automatically functioning winch that keeps the cable at voltage and supplies for the energy supply. The cable itself is thin but offers a high tensile strength. Then there is another provision on the drone side, for attaching the cable and the transfer of power to the drone. The ground station is connected to the fixed power grid and often also provides an emergency power supply.

Yuneec X-Stream R1

Yuneec’s new X-Stream R1 cable drone system consists of the above components. The winch system is equipped with a so-called sense-detect array. This ensures that the voltage on the cable is not too high, to prevent the drone from being too heavily loaded, but also not too low, to prevent the cable from hanging slack. Also, the control system prevents the cable from blocking during take-off.

The winch is housed in a suitcase. This has a connection for the fixed power supply (120/240v). The ground station is also equipped with an Aerial Power Supply (APS). This is to ensure that the drone can continue to operate safely in the event of a sudden power failure. This allows the connected drone to continue flying for another five minutes in such a case to be able to land safely.

The system allows a maximum flight height of 50 meters. Measuring 41 x 27 x 28 cm, the new accessory is surprisingly compact and weighs about 8 kg, Yuneec does not specify maximum operating time when using the X-Stream R1. The product description only says “more than 6-8 hours”.

Compatible with the H520 series

The X-Stream R1 cable drone system can be used in combination with the H520 and H520E hexacopters. These drones have been developed for demanding applications and can be equipped with different cameras


the cable drone system has a recommended retail price of 13,088 euros. This does not include drone and/or payloads.