Long-range Communication Framework for Autonomous UAVs

Title: Long-range Communication Framework for Autonomous UAVs
Authors: Elchin, Mammadov
Date: 2013
Abstract: The communication range between a civilian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and a Ground Control Station (GCS) is affected by the government regulations that determine the use of frequency bands and constrain the amount of power in those frequencies. The application of multiple UAVs in search and rescue operations for example demands a reliable, long-range inter-UAV communication. The inter-UAV communication is the ability of UAVs to exchange data among themselves, thus forming a network in the air. This ability could be used to extend the range of communication by using a decentralized routing technique in the network. To provide this ability to a fleet of autonomous dirigible UAVs being developed at the University of Ottawa, a new communication framework was introduced and implemented. Providing a true mesh networking based on a novel routing protocol, the framework combines long-range radios at 900 MHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band with the software integrated into the electronics platform of each dirigible. With one radio module per dirigible the implemented software provides core functionalities to each UAV, such as exchanging flight control commands, telemetry data, and photos with any other UAV in a decentralized network or with the GCS. We made use of the advanced networking tools of the radio modules to build capabilities into the software for route tracing, traffic prioritization, and minimizing self-interference. Initial test results showed that without acknowledgements, packets can be received in the wrong order and cause errors in the transmission of photos. In addition, a transmission in a presence of a third broadcasting node slows down by 4-6 times. Based on these results our software was improved to control to flow of transmit data making the fragmentation, packetization, and reassembly of photos more reliable. Currently, using radios with half-wavelength dipole antennas we can achieve a one-hop communication range of up to 5 km with the radio frequency line-of-sight (RF LOS). This can be extended further by adding as many radio nodes as needed to act as intermediate hops.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/24309
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -