SkyHaul: An Autonomous Gigabit Network Fabric In The Sky

Publication Date: 6/16/2020

Event: arXiv


Authors: Ramanujan K. Sheshadri, NEC Laboratories America, Inc., Eugene Chai, NEC Laboratories America, Inc., Karthikeyan Sundaresan, NEC Laboratories America, Inc., Sampath Rangarajan, NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

Abstract: We design and build SKYHAUL, the first large scale, autonomous, self organizing network of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that are connected using a mmWave wireless mesh backhaul. While the use of a mmWave backhaul paves the way for a new class of bandwidth intensive, latency sensitive cooperative applications (e.g., LTE coverage during disasters, surveillance during rescue in challenging terrains), the network of UAVs allows these applications to be executed at operating ranges that are far beyond the line of sight distances that limit individual UAVs today. To realize the challenging vision of deploying and maintaining an airborne mmWave mesh backhaul to cater to dynamic applications, SKYHAUL’s design incorporates various elements: (1) Role specific UAV operations that simultaneously address application tracking and backhaul connectivity (2) Novel algorithms to jointly address the problem of deployment (position, yaw of UAVs) and traffic routing across the UAV network, and (3) A provably optimal solution for fast and safe reconfiguration of UAV backhaul during application dynamics. We implement SKYHAUL on four DJI Matrice 600 Pros to demonstrate its practicality and performance through autonomous flight operations, complemented by large scale simulations.

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