While households in developed countries receive skyrocketing data rates through optical fibers and smartphones step into the 5G era, roughly one half of the world’s population cannot connect to the internet. Even beyond developing economies, the entire humanity would benefit from the capability of bringing data connectivity to areas where it cannot currently reach since it would drastically benefit applications such as the internet-of-things, smart agriculture/forestry, wildfire suppression, search-and-rescue missions, paramedical interventions, and emergency response handling to name a few. To address this need for ubiquitous connectivity, the 3GPP consortium, which develops the 5G standards, is regulating the integration between satellites and communication unmanned aerial vehicles (C-UAVs) to combine the benefits of the former, which provide low data rates in large areas, and the latter, which provide high data rates in smaller areas. C-UAVs are balloons, zeppelins, or multicopters with an onboard relay or base station that provides internet access to ground users by connecting to satellites, terrestrial base stations, or other C-UAVs; see Fig. 1. For this technology to become a reality, key technological developments are still required. Particularly, existing systems are oblivious to the propagation conditions of each location. Instead, they rely on statistical characterizations of average scenarios that fail to capture the specifics of each propagation situation. This proposal targets a comprehensive set of algorithms and procedures for C-UAV systems to govern navigation and communication where the decision-making is aware of the radiofrequency (RF) environment and the user conditions. More specifically maps of the propagation channel are constructed based on measurements collected by ground users, C-UAVs, and (possibly) satellites. These maps are then utilized by C-UAVs to navigate and place themselves at positions with favorable propagation conditions.
Project leader: Daniel Romero
Institution: FAKULTET FOR TEKNOLOGI OG REALFAG