Programme Element: ARTES 5.1
Reference nr.: 11.1TT.26
Planned Tender Issue: quarter 4, 2013
(*) priority 2
The objective of this activity is to develop and demonstrate a high speed bidirectional modem prototype for communication of UAV?s through FSS satellites for NON-LOS operations.
Targeted Improvements: Data rate improved by a factor of 10.
Governement and commercial scenarios requirer high speed communications to/from UAVs operating over a area of crises or commercial interest. HD real-time videos as well as all the data generated by the on-board instruments,bring the data rate requirement up to 500 Mbps. Terrestrial communication means allow only for LOS (line-of-sight) and limited bandwidth communications.
The use of FSS and BSS satellites allows instead for BLOS (beyond-line of sight) high bandwidth communications, but the airborne equipment market is dominated by U.S. and Israeli manufacturers. Important factors to be considered are the ITU frequency allocations for UAVs, the link availability and the cost and mass of the transceiver, and the protocols used to transfer the data to the end user. Particularly the mass and power may represent an important limitation. In this respect, small antennas are also a must. Another critical point is the multiple access capabilities of the links and the coexistence of the terrestrial and satellite communication links. Maximization of the re-use of the same transceiver HW for both links should be encouraged.
Other aspects to be considered are 1) support of non-GEO (HEO) satellites, 2) support of sense & avoid data stream, 3) data rate flexibility from 10 Mbps to 500 Mbps 4) possibility of integration also in smaller UAV's 5) security measures 6) telecommand and telemetry links 7) ACM to combat fading in low altitude (below clouds) operations as well as to cope with geographical position dependent attenuation variation 8) spot beam hand-over. 9) use of advanced protocols such as DTN (Disruption Tolerant Networking) for delivery of the data to the end user. 10) The use of higher frequency bands for high-flying UAV?s.
This activity shall first include a study phase where an optimized terminal architectural design is carried out, including the higher protocol layers using DTN. Next, the design of a prototype of a UAV baseband modem capable of transmitting data rates from 10 Mbps up to 500 Mbps shall be carried out. The modem shall also support bi-directional communications (asymmetry ratio around 1:20). The corresponding ground transceiver (with higher layer protocols) shall also be developed for the sole purpose of testing. The developed high speed breadboards shall then be associated with a proper RF front end and a COTS antenna in Ka-band for demonstration and testing through any available Ka-band satellite capacity, using a rental plane. The activity shall investigate whether combining DTN, ACM, and cross-layer optimisations yields a system-wide optimisation.
While the protoyping shall be restricted to Ka-band, the activity shall also consider the scenario and derive requirements for cases in which UAV?s use higher frequency bands which can be used when flying above the clouds (e.g. Q/V-band as on TDP#5). The activity shall benefit from DTN developments underway in the GSP programme.
(*) Priority 2 activities will only be initiated on the explicit request of at least one delegation.