Proposal of Continuous Remote Control Architecture for Drone Operations
Drones have been considered for use in various fields according to the performance improvement and the price down of devices. They are expected for some applications: disaster relief, farm field, security field, transportation field, etc. Some companies will employ the autopilot system for their business. However, they have to switch to manual operation in case of emergency due to the autopilot safety is not guaranteed. Therefore, a pilot must connect with the drone continuously by the network for remote monitoring. Cellular network systems are the candidate networks for remote monitoring. However, typical design of cellular networks does not assume user equipment devices in the air because antennas of cellular networks are usually aimed downward to reduce inter-cell interference. This means that drones may fly out a communication area of cellular networks. Therefore, business drones must communicate with some cellular networks to keep continuous communication. However, IP-based application will disconnect due to change of cellular networks. As a result, practical business drones’ operations require a continuous communication mechanism. This paper proposes a continuous remote control architecture for drone operations to improve safety of the autopilot function. The proposed architecture employs NTMobile technology as a seamless mobility protocol supporting continuous communication. Additionally, it also employs IP-based remote control application to control drones remotely. The evaluation system can acquire sensor information and exchange control information continuously when drones switch access networks. The proposed architecture can be a fundamental framework to realize a wide area drone operation service.
KeywordsRemote drone control Cellular networks Seamless mobility
This work is supported in part by the collaborative research project with KDDI Research, Inc., Japan, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B)(15H02697) and (C)(17K00142), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the Cooperative Research Project Program of the Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University and the Hibi science foundation.
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