Aalto University and Tempere University of Technology are working on how to enable more cost-effective wireless service using drones. Lead researcher Vasilii Semkin of Aalto University said that 3D models taken from drones in urban environments could help people designing radio links, giving the designers a bird’s-eye view of potential coverage.
The researchers say that it might be particularly useful for designing 5G wireless connection, including network planning at millimeter-wave frequencies. “With the technique used by us, the resulting 3D model of the environment is much more detailed, and the technique also makes it possible to carry out the design process in a more cost-efficient way. It is then easier for designers to decide which objects in the environment to be taken into account, and where the base stations should be placed to get the optimum coverage,” Semkin said.
They made their geometrical models using several commercial drones, which could either be controlled from a computer or operate autonomously. The 3D images which the drone captures can then be read by 3D modeling software, allowing mobile companies to view how millimeter-wave frequencies will propagate throughout the given environment.
This could, in turn, help companies reach increasingly stringent standards for radio frequency emissions. University researchers aren’t the only ones using drones to support wireless networks: Verizon has deployed them in venues like stadia and racetracks in order to inspect towers.