UAVs are no longer limited to hobbyists. NASA started researching ways of integrating Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) in the national airspace in early 2015 and industry giants like Intel, AT&T and Qualcomm are conducting research involving Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The world is slowly moving towards UAV networks.
The first and the foremost requirement towards realization of UAV networks is a robust and integrated link – that combines the currently diversified telemetry, control and data link. The models required to create a robust and integrated link are absent.
Fig. 1 — UAV network configuration
Fig. 2 – Software defined radio link (SDRL).
To that effect, we have undertaken a campaign to gather data through static hovering flight tests. We use two different platforms – ARGO (an AFSL developed octocopter) and 3DR Solo (commercial off the shelf quadrotor) to hover at predefined waypoints in space for a certain duration and collect RSSI and Packet Success Rate data by transmitting packets from an SDR mounted on a UAV to another SDR on the ground.
Fig. 3 — Platforms for static hovering flight tests (left: Argo, right: Solo)
Once we complete the static tests. We plan to graduate to flight tests involving fixed wing drones. The immediate aim is to provide researchers with an air-ground communication link RF database to facilitate the development of models that characterize the air-ground communication link.
Video – SDR-equipped UAV testbed developed by FuNLab and AFSL at UW.
UW UAV Channel Measurement Database http://uavchannel.ee.washington.edu:8080/index/