Ultra-fast, Autonomous, Reconfigurable UAV Disaster Communication System

Abstract

The recent years have witnessed an increase in natural disasters in which the destruction of essential communication infrastructure has significantly affected the number of casualties. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina in the United States resulted in over 1,900 deaths, three million land-line phones disconnections, and more than 2000 cell sites going out of service. This incident highlighted an urgent need for a quick-deployment, efficient communication network for emergency relief purposes. In this research, a fully autonomous system to deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as the first phase disaster recovery communication network for wide-area relief is presented. As part of this system, an automation algorithm has been developed to control the deployment and positioning of the UAVs based on a traditional cell network structure utilizing 7-cell clusters in a hexagonal pattern. In addition to the software algorithm, a fully functional control interface was developed which allowed for full control of the system both locally and over an internet connection. This system represents a novel approach for handling a large-scale autonomous deployment of a UAV communications networks.

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