Enabling Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the near future applications

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Until today, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations only include a single aerial vehicle (in most cases) that performs reconnaissance missions by sending telemetry captured by different onboarded sensors (e.g., video, temperature, air quality) to the Ground Control Station (GCS). Single-UAV applications, despite their apparent simplicity, are used in many different and significant fields (e.g., surveillance of livestock, monitoring of power lines, traffic monitoring, rescue). Many applications of UAV swarms have already been seen. Still, they are usually stunts and exhibitions with no actual functionality. Recent research trends are founded on multiple UAVs operating collaborative implementing more complex services, and generally integrated into the urban environment. It would lead to new scenarios that are not yet adequately deployed (e.g., package delivery, monitoring of sports events or crowds such as concerts or demonstrations, increasing coverage, support to emergency services in cities (fire, police, emergency)). However, several challenges must be faced before integrating these applications into our everyday lives. The central objective of the thesis is to contribute to some of the significant challenges identified in the UAV communications services sector. In the first place, this thesis contributes with an emulation solution for validating environments with connected UAVs, including different use cases and verticals. Additionally, it contributes to communications solutions in complex connectivity environments based on experimentation where the Fifth Generation of cellular network technology (5G) softwarization technologies are integrated into the UAV ecosystem. In the last place, this thesis contributes to the proposal of new solutions to solve some limitations, such as the high energy consumption in combination with UAVs’ limited flight autonomy or the complexity of traffic management and the establishment of the network infrastructure in such volatile environments.
Ground Control Station (GCS), Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAVs), Fifth Generation of cellular network technology (5G), 5G, Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Adaptable SUAV deployments
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