Relay is one of the most significant issues in smart industrial wireless sensor networks (WSN) due to the low transmitting power of sensors. By relay, the signals of sensors can be concentrated at the relay and further transmitted to the base station for decreasing energy consumption in the system. In the past decades, the relay in WSN is generally one super sensor with large transmitting power. However, the placement of the super sensor is static, which leads to the instability of performance in WSN under the time-varying wireless environment. Fortunately, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can provide an effective leverage to improve the environment-adaptation in WSN compared to the static relay in WSN. In this paper, we employ UAV as the relay in WSN, which can move in three-dimensional space to possess a better position to minimize the system power consumption. We use a simple case study to demonstrate the effectiveness of UAV in WSN. Extended simulations are also given to verify the preferable performance of the UAV based relay in WSN.
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