Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have found fast growing civilian and commercial applications in recent years, such as for cargo delivery, precise agriculture, sky monitoring, video streaming, traffic control, rescue and search, communication relaying. However, existing UAV systems mainly rely on the traditional direct ground-to-UAV communications over the unlicensed spectrum (e.g., ISM 2.4GHz), which is of limited data rate, unreliable, insecure, vulnerable to interference, and can only operate within the visual line of sight (LoS) range. As the number of UAVs and their related applications increase explosively in the coming years, it is imperative to develop innovative wireless communication technologies not only for supporting the ultra-reliable UAV remote command and control (C&C) to ensure their safe operations, but also for enabling high-capacity mission-related information transmission for rate-demanding applications.
Integrating UAVs into cellular and satellite networks is a promising solution to achieve the above goals, where UAVs with their own missions could be connected with either cellular base stations (BSs) or satellites as special aerial users, referred to as network-connected UAVs. Thanks to the almost ubiquitous accessibility worldwide and advanced authentication mechanisms of cellular and satellite systems, network-connected UAVs are expected to significantly outperform the traditional direct ground-to-UAV communications, in terms of reliability, security, throughput, and operation range. Moreover, the integration of UAVs can also be utilized for UAV-assisted communications, where UAVs such as drones, helikites, and balloons, are deployed as dedicated communication platforms to assist the terrestrial communications. UAV-assisted communications have many promising advantages, including the ability for swift and on-demand deployment, high flexibility in network reconfiguration, as well as high chance of having short-distance line-of-sight (LoS) communication links. Thus, UAV-assisted communications have numerous potential use cases, including wireless connectivity for remote areas, public safety, BS offloading, disaster relief, information dissemination and data collection for Internet of Things (IoT),.
To practically realize the promising visions of network-connected UAVs and UAV-assisted communications, many new challenges need to be addressed. For instance, when the UAV flies at relatively low altitude (such as below the BS antenna height) with low speed, it can be served similarly as a conventional terrestrial user by a BS. However, as the UAV’s altitude increases, it may enter into the cellular coverage hole since the traditional BS antennas are usually tilted downwards for serving the ground users only. Therefore, in order to accommodate the aerial users at moderate and high altitudes, the cellular systems need to be significantly revised to ensure reasonable aerial coverage, and at the same time, a seamless handover to satellite connections need to established for UAVs exceeding certain altitude. Moreover, UAV communications are significantly different from the extensively studied terrestrial or satellite communications, due to the high altitude and mobility of UAVs, the unique channel characteristics of UAV-ground and UAV-satellite links, the asymmetric quality of service (QoS) requirements for downlink UAV command and control (C&C) and uplink mission-related data transmission, the stringent constraints imposed by the size, weight, and power (SWAP) limitations of UAVs, as well as the additional design degrees of freedom with joint UAV mobility control and communication resource allocation. Significant research efforts are needed to fully realize the potential of seamlessly integrating UAVs into cellular and satellite communication networks. The proposed feature topic issue aims to promote and expose these research activities to the China Communication readership. We solicit contributions for a Feature Topic on “Network-Connected UAV Communications” scheduled for May, 2018.
Submission Deadline: February 15, 2018
Acceptance Notification (1st round): March 5, 2018
Minor Revision Due: March 15, 2018
Final Decision Due: March 25, 2018
Final Manuscript Due: April 1, 2018
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
TOPICS OF INTEREST INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, THE FOLLOWING:
1. Architectures and protocols for integrating UAVs into cellular and satellite networks
2. Channel measurement and modeling for UAV-ground/UAV-UAV/UAV-satellite links
3. Spectrum management for network-connected UAV communications
4. Interference mitigation for network-connected UAV communications
5. Cellular and satellite networks with coexisting aerial and ground users
6. UAV base station/relay placement
7. Multiple access techniques for UAV communications
8. MIMO/massive MIMO technologies for UAV communications
9. Millimeter wave technologies for UAV communications
10. Wireless backhauling for UAV-assisted communications
11. Joint UAV trajectory optimization and resource allocation
12. Security issues for UAV systems
13. Beamforming techniques for UAV communications
14. Channel estimation/tracking for UAV communications
15. Energy consumption models of UAV systems
16. Energy-efficient UAV communications
17. UAV systems with wireless powering/caching/edge computing
18. Field measurement results
This feature topic “Network-Connected UAV Communications” seeks original, UNPUBLISHED research papers reporting substantive new work in various aspects of topics above. Papers MUST clearly indicate your contributions to the topic field and properly cite related work in this field.
- an abstract of about 150 words
- 3-8 keywords
- original photographs with high-resolution (300 dpi or greater); eps. or tif. format is preferred
- sequentially numbered references. The basic reference format is: author name, "article name", issue name(italic）, vol, no., page, month, year. for example: Y.M Huang, "pervateture in wireless hetergeneous..",IEEE Journal on Selected Areas, vol.27, no. 5, pp 34-50, May, 2009.
- brief biographies of authors (50-75 words)
- contact information, including email and mailing addresses
Please note that each submission will normally be approximately 4500 words, with no more than 20 mathematical formulas, accomplished by up to 10 figures and/or tables.