Flying rebots: First results on an autonomous UAV-based LTE relay using OpenAirInterface

Gangula, Rajeev; Esrafilian, Omid; Gesbert, David; Roux, Cedric; Kaltenberger, Florian; Knopp, Raymond
SPAWC 2018, 19th IEEE International Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications, 25-28 June 2018, Kalamata, Greece

In this paper we introduce the design of the "Rebot" (Relaying Robot) for future wireless networks. The Rebot concept is first of its kind in providing enhanced end-to-end LTE connectivity to ground users from a fixed base station via a flying relay which is enabled with an autonomous placement algorithm. The Rebot that we have built is a customized integrated UAV relay and its communication layer is based on OpenAirInterface. The ground user carries an off-the-shelf commercial LTE mobile terminal. We also present a placement algorithm that updates the UAV position in real time based on user location and wireless channel conditions so as to maximize the throughput at all times. The experimental results show throughput gains by using this UAV relay and also illustrate the learning/tracking behavior of the Rebot.

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Systèmes de Communication
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