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Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1696; doi:10.3390/s16101696

Development and Testing of a Two-UAV Communication Relay System

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Felipe Gonzalez Toro and Antonios Tsourdos
Received: 22 July 2016 / Revised: 16 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 13 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV-Based Remote Sensing)

Abstract

In the development of beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems, communication between the UAVs and the ground control station (GCS) is of critical importance. The commonly used economical wireless modules are restricted by the short communication range and are easily blocked by obstacles. The use of a communication relay system provides a practical way to solve these problems, improving the performance of UAV communication in BLOS and cross-obstacle operations. In this study, a communication relay system, in which a quadrotor was used to relay radio communication for another quadrotor was developed and tested. First, the UAVs used as the airborne platform were constructed, and the hardware for the communication relay system was selected and built up. Second, a set of software programs and protocol for autonomous mission control, communication relay control, and ground control were developed. Finally, the system was fully integrated into the airborne platform and tested both indoor and in-flight. The Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) and noise value in two typical application scenarios were recorded. The test results demonstrated the ability of this system to extend the communication range and build communication over obstacles. This system also shows the feasibility to coordinate multiple UAVs’ communication with the same relay structure. View Full-Text
Keywords: two-UAV system; communication relay; mission control software; Ground Control Station two-UAV system; communication relay; mission control software; Ground Control Station
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, B.; Jiang, Y.; Sun, J.; Cai, L.; Wen, C.-Y. Development and Testing of a Two-UAV Communication Relay System. Sensors 2016, 16, 1696.

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