(Air)space is the Final Frontier: The Role of mm-Wave Systems in Sensing and Communication for UAVs

The rapid growth in the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) opens up new paradigms for spectrum sensing, RF actuation, and air-ground communication. In this two-part talk we will cover, from an experimental viewpoint, the challenges in creating UAV-based communication links. In the first part, we study the potential of mm-wave radio mounted UAVs that can serve as mobile 5G base stations and aerial backhaul links. We will motivate the need for — and then design — new channel models for air-to-air and air-to-ground communication at 60GHz using Terragraph radios as channel sounders that are custom-fitted on DJI M600 UAVs, considering practical limitations of hovering and airframe reflections. In the second part, we shall describe a method that ensures jamming resilient air-ground control channels using a combination of Texas Instruments automotive mm-wave radar sensors and physical movement of the UAVs. While concluding, we shall provide a glimpse of other experimental works concerning rapid beamforming in the mm-wave band for vehicular environments using 60GHz Intel Talon routers.