T2: Networked Airborne Computing: State-of-the-Art in Challenges, Applications and Enabling Technologies

Organizers and Presenters

Dr. Yan Wan
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

Dr. Kejie Lu
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Dr. Shengli Fu
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of North Texas, Denton, TX

Dr. Junfei Xie
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Dr. YangQuan Chen
School of Engineering
University of California, Merced, CA

Tutorial Summary

In recent years, unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) have attracted significant attention from industry, federal agencies, and academia. Although most existing UAS applications involve a single UAS, many new civilian UAS applications are expected to desire cooperative computing capabilities of multiple UASs. Examples include precision agriculture, emergency response, cooperative surveillance, 3D image stitching, UAS swarms, content delivery, and airborne edge computing. Such a trend leads to opportunities for researchers to tackle rich fundamental challenges across many disciplines, such as aerospace, control, communication, networking, and computing. In this tutorial, our objective is to explore this new and cross-disciplinary area: networked airborne computing. We will address how to design and develop future generations of UAS-based networked airborne computing systems, which consist of a network of smart UASs that integrate communication, control, computing and storage capabilities.

We will first discuss how existing and potential applications can be developed in the paradigm of networked airborne computing. After summarizing the requirements of these applications, we will address the challenges in system design, control, communications, networking and computing. We will then elaborate on enabling technologies, such as cyber-physical systems, cooperative control, long-range communication, software-defined networking, virtualization, coded distributed computing, and various co-design techniques. Finally, we will discuss open issues and important future directions, before concluding the tutorial.

Topics to be Covered

  • Market trend, regulation and policy, and existing testbeds for networked airborne computing systems.
  • Applications of networked airborne computing, including emergency response, cooperative surveillance, 3D image stitching, UAS swarm, content delivery, precision agriculture, airborne edge computing, and UAV traffic control.  
  • Design challenges, open issues, and future directions for networked airborne computing on aspects such as platform, power supply, flight control, communication, networking, and computing.
  • Enabling technologies for networked airborne computing, including cyber-physical systems, cooperative control, multi-UAV games, broadband and long-range communication system, programmable medium access control, software-defined networking, network function virtualization, information-centric networking, virtualization mechanisms in computing, coded distributed computing, and various co-design techniques.
  • Summary, discussion, and feedback.

Intended Audience

Students, researchers, and developers interested in multi-UAS development and applications, with a background in aerospace, control, communication, networking, or computing.

Tutorial References

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  • K. Lu, J. Xie, Y. Wan, and S. Fu, “Toward UAV-based Airborne Computing,” IEEE Communication Magazine, accepted, March 2019.
  • S. Li, C. He, M. Liu, Y. Wan, Y. Gu, J. Xie, S. Fu, and K. Lu, “The Design and Implementation of Aerial Communication Using Directional Antennas: Learning Control in Unknown Communication Environment,” IET Control Theory and Application, in press, April 2019.
  • J. Xie, Y. Wan, B. Wang, S. Fu, and J. H. Kim, “A Comprehensive 3-Dimensional Random Mobility Modeling Framework for Airborne Networks,” IEEE Access, vol. 6, pp. 22849 – 22862, March 2018.
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  • J. Xie, Y. Wan, K. Namuduri, S. Fu, G. L. Peterson, and J. F. Raquet, “Estimation and Validation of the 3D Smooth-Turn Mobility Model for Airborne Networks,” in Proceedings of IEEE Military Communications Conference, San Diego, CA, November18-20, 2013, pp.556-561.
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