Wireless Broadband Solutions for Unmanned Aerial Systems

State-of-the-art MIMO for long range video streaming

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The UAS market is reaching a tipping point of adoption as various industries realize the potential of unmanned vehicles. UAS manufacturers are rapidly improving the performance of their systems both in terms of flight and capabilities. An acute pain point for UAS designers, however, is finding connectivity solutions that allow their systems to reach their full potential, including being fully-functional from a few kilometers away. The communications link is the lifeline between the flyer and ground control station, and it is necessary to have a highly reliable, low latency, high throughput wireless communication link for Command, Control and streaming sensor data (e.g. 4K video).

Doodle Labs has an extensive portfolio of wireless building blocks developed specifically with the UAS application in mind. Its research is focused on leveraging the benefits of COFDM and MIMO technology to address the inherent RF challenges that unmanned aerial systems face. As a part of this effort, Doodle Labs has developed a set of UAS-focused features within its BII™ software stack that extend the flyer’s communication range and supports Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) operations. 

With all the opportunities and challenges faced by UAS manufacturers, there is a strong need in the industry for the following features:

  • Minimal Size, Weight, and Power Consumption (SWaP). Flight times are directly correlated to the power consumed by the system. Every millimeter and gram needs to be accounted for, and components should only be consuming power to the extent that they are being used.
  • Long-Range, Beyond Line of Site Communication. Many unmanned systems have the ability to fly many kilometers away and across objects that impede direct line of sight, requiring data links that can do the same.
  • Command & Control and Sensor Data on a Single Link. The uplink connection to the vehicle needs to be highly reliable with low latency to send command and control information, while the downlink requires up to 20 Mbps of UDP throughput for streaming sensor data such as 4K video.
  • Encryption and Immunity against Cyber Attacks. Public Safety, Defense, and many Commercial applications transmit highly sensitive data. Communications must be secure and the vehicles must be protected from unintended parties gaining access.
  • Ease of Integration. Unmanned systems have unique, complex architectures and require communication solutions with a variety of interfaces and plug-and-play abilities to minimize time and effort spent on integration.
  • Licensed and Unlicensed-Band Operation. International and Defense customers have access to special frequency bands. UAS manufacturers need the ability to communicate in each of these frequencies without needing to redesign their system for each new project.
  • Mesh Networking. Wide area surveillance and multi-vehicle applications require advanced networking, including self-forming and self-healing mesh.