Researcher: Mobile radio could be used to connect drones

September 10, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Researcher: Mobile radio could be used to connect drones
Soon drones will be able to transport goods and people commercially, monitor disaster areas and facilitate life in remote regions. But how should a communications infrastructure look like that best supports the needs of the drones? Researchers at the University of Klagenfurt (Austria) have investigated the challenges that traditional mobile radio networks have to face in this context.

Drones place high demands on the networks through which they communicate. This also applies if they use public mobile radio networks: It must be constantly ensured that they can communicate with each other as well as with a base station. Conventional mobile radio networks already provide the wireless communication infrastructure required for similar tasks. A research group at the University of Klagenfurt has investigated how such networking can be implemented. The operation of drones in the LTE advanced network was investigated. The conclusion: the current maximum transmission rates of 20 Mbit/sec from the base station to the drone are sufficient for numerous applications. However, network performance needs to be improved in order to expand the range of applications. Hope for the future is pinned on the 5G network, which is currently undergoing its first usage phases.

Aymen Fakhreddine, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Embedded and Networked Systems at the University of Klagenfurt. presented the results of his research at the ACM Workshop on Micro Aerial Vehicle Networks, Systems and Applications in Seoul. "We researchers currently know too little about drone communication in real mobile radio networks," reports Fakhreddine, The current research work at this university, conducted along with Lakeside Labs GmbH, is integrated into a cooperation with mobile phone operator Magenta (formerly T-Mobile) and enables experimental studies in real mobile phone networks.

According to Fakhreddine, a dedicated network specially designed for drones would be very expensive. Instead, the researcher assumes that in the next five to ten years the operation of drones will be integrated into their existing infrastructure. Currently, it is important to prepare the drones for integration into a 5G network, also with regard to standardization.

More information: Aymen.Fakhreddine@aau.at

 

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Picture: 
Drone communications

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