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Dynamic Channel Selection in UAVs through Constellations in the Sky

Dynamic Channel Selection in UAVs through Constellations in the Sky

Wireless communication between an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the ground base station (BS) is susceptible to adversarial jamming. In such situations, it is important for the UAV to indicate a new channel to the BS.

This paper describes a method of creating spatial codes that map the chosen channel to the motion and location of the UAVs in space, wherein the latter physically traverses the space from a given so called ”constellation point” to another. These points create patterns in the sky, analogous to modulation constellations in classical wireless communications, and are detected at the BS through a millimeter-wave (mmWave) radar sensor. A constellation point represents a distinct n-bit field mapped to a specific channel, allowing simultaneous frequency switching at both ends without any RF transmissions.

The main contributions of this paper are: (i) We conduct experimental studies to demonstrate how such constellations may be formed using COTS UAVs and mmWave sensors, given realistic sensing errors and hovering vibrations, (ii) We develop a theoretical framework that maps a desired constellation design to error and band switching time, considering again practical UAV movement limitations, and (iii) We experimentally demonstrate jamming resilient communications and validate system goodput for links formed by UAV-mounted software defined radios.

Affiliated Faculty: Hanumant Singh in partnership with Kaushik Chowdhury (Electrical and Computer Engineering).

02/24/21 – BOSTON, MA – Students test medical protective gear using robots in the ISEC building on Feb 24, 2021. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

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