Effects of radio wave propagation in urbanized areas on UAV-GCS command and control
Lock, Wai Lek Willy
Jenn, David C.
Knorr, Jeffrey B.
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The purpose of this research was to examine the effects of radiowave propagation in urbanized areas on unmanned aerial vehicle-ground control station (UAV-GCS) command and control. Operating at high frequency has merits of higher data rate transfer, which is crucial to support the large quantity of voice and video data to be transmitted via UAV-GCS linkage. However, high frequencies are attenuated more rapidly in lossy materials and weather. Having a shorter operational range translates to a smaller RF spread radius, and thus lowers the susceptibility to detection and jamming. The software, Urbana, was used to investigate the propagation of radio signals in urban environments under varying conditions. Simulations were conducted for a small group of buildings and a large collection of buildings representative of a big city. The data clearly illustrate the effect of "urban canyons" and diffraction around buildings. An UAV deployed for military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) must have the inherent capability to hover or fly at low speeds to be able to adapt to the dynamic urban environment and to capitalize on communications opportunities. Simulations show that a single UAV hovering at three times the height of the tallest building in the central city was found to provide concentric, uniform signal coverage.
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