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UAV and UAS_032423A

- Overview

A drone is any aircraft that receives remote commands from a pilot or relies on software to fly autonomously. Many drones have features such as cameras to gather visual data and propellers to stabilize flight patterns. Industries such as videography, search and rescue, agriculture, and transportation have adopted drone technology.

A drone's level of autonomy can range from telepiloted (a human controls its movement) to advanced autonomy, meaning it relies on a system of sensors and LiDAR detectors to calculate its movement.

- UASs

Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) are aerial vehicles and related equipment that do not carry a human operator, but are piloted remotely or fly autonomously. UAS are commonly referred to as unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), and unmanned aircraft. 

A UAS typically consists of an aircraft without a pilot, a remote pilot station, a command and control link, and payloads specific to the intended application/operation, often including dedicated cameras or other options for near-term analysis Sensors that collect data. For example, hyperspectral cameras could be used in precision agriculture applications to determine the relative health of specific crops and more accurately dispense fertilizers and/or pesticides. In addition to the command and control link, most UASs will have some means of transmitting collected data for analysis.

- UAVs and Military UAVs

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft that does not carry a human pilot or passengers. UAVs (sometimes called drones) can be fully or partially autonomous, but are usually controlled remotely by human pilots. 

UAVs are equipped with actual payloads such as cameras, radars, sensors, etc. Its drone technology is backed by data systems such as GPS trackers and wireless connectivity, allowing its components to work together from a distance.

Military UAVs that carry sensors, target designators, offensive munitions, or electronic emitters designed to jam or destroy enemy targets. Uninfluenced by the design safety requirements of aircrews, life support systems, and manned aircraft, UAVs can be highly efficient, offering greater range and endurance than equivalent manned systems.


Harvard University_102221A

- Satellite and Wireless Connectivity for Drones, UAV, UAS

While satellite communications have more limited applications for intra-city and inter-city communications (areas where fiber optics and WIFI already dominate and the line-of-sight required for satellites is greatly reduced), integrated satellite and terrestrial systems will be necessary to meet future all the demands that may be placed on a 5G network. These include:

  • As Internet of Things (IoT) devices proliferate, more rural and remote areas experience increased traffic and connections outside of dense urban centers,
  • Provide coverage for devices in motion (such as a boat at sea or a car traveling across the United States), and
  • Processing and data caching are moving closer and closer to the edge of the network (i.e. edge computing), away from areas of dense fiber availability.

Take the connectivity needs of mobility as an example. If you disconnect your mobile assets (cars, trucks, planes, drones, ships) from your fiber network, you can still stay connected via WIFI and terrestrial 5G infrastructure as long as it is in or near a city. But as you move to more rural and remote areas, reliable coverage and sufficient data density is only possible with satellite communications (SATCOM). As the number, uses and requirements of connections continue to evolve, so will the importance of extending the promise of 5G networks beyond cities and densely networked communities.

To meet these demands, satellites will need to serve a variety of purposes, from “last mile” issues to mobile connectivity, redundancy for critical emergency services, edge networks, and IoT-intensive traffic areas outside already highly networked cities.

In short, satellites will play a critical role in shaping our shared 5G future. How we integrate ground and space-based components will determine the type and degree of connectivity 5G networks actually achieve across the United States and around the world, not what they can theoretically achieve.


- UAV Command and Control (C2), Navigation and Surveillance: 5G and Satellite Systems

Drones, UAVs or UAS are expected to be an important part of 5G/Beyond 5G (B5G) communications. This includes their use in cellular architectures (5G drones), where they can facilitate wireless broadcasts and point-to-point transmissions, often using small UAS (sUAS). Allowing drones to operate alongside commercial, cargo and other manned aircraft in airspace may require dedicated and protected aviation spectrum — at least in the short term, while regulators adapt to their use.

Command and Control (C2) or Control and Non-Payload Communication (CNPC) links provide safety-critical information for the control of UAVs, either in ground-based line-of-sight (LOS) conditions or in so-called satellite communication links Beyond LOS (BLOS) conditions.



[More to come ...]


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