As automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) becomes more prevalent, the placement of on-ground sensors is vital for Air Traffic Control (ATC) to control the airspace. However, the current sensors are placed in an unstructured way that keeps some areas without coverage, and others are over-densified by sensors. Therefore, areas with coverage anomalies may cause issues that inhibit accurate ADS-B verifications as well as the availability of ADS-B altogether. In this paper, we tackle the ADS-B-specific optimal sensor placement (OSP) problem. Of importance are both the optimal coverage and the secure and accurate verification of received ADS-B messages. Specifically, we take into account the following objectives. First, we determine the minimum required number of sensors in order to cover a certain area like Europe. Second, we produce a better placement of the current sensors with respect to the security and accuracy of geometric dilution of precision (GDOP). Finally, we calculate how far the current sensor setup is from our derived optimal solution as well as the cost to reach the optimality. Our experiments show that the ideal fitness score for solving the OSP is below 0.1, meaning that the mean squared error (MSE) of the required and achieved GDOPs is significantly small, thus accomplishing a near-optimal setup.
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