Airborne Urban Microcells with Grasping End Effectors: A Game Changer for 6G Networks?

Vasilis Friderikos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Airborne (or flying) base stations (ABSs) embedded on drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be deemed as a central element of envisioned 6G cellular networks where significant levels of cell densification with mmWave/Terahertz communications will be part of the ecosystem. Nonetheless, one of the key challenges facing the deployment of ABSs is the inherent limited available energy of the drone, which limits the hovering time for serving ground users to the order of minutes. This impediment deteriorate the performance of a UAV-assisted cellular network and hinders wide adoption and use of the technology. In this paper, we propose robotic airborne base stations (RABSs) with grasping capabilities to increase the serving time of ground users by multiple orders of magnitude compared to the nominal hovering based operation. More specifically, to perform the grasping task, the RABS is equipped with a versatile, albeit, general purpose gripper manipulator. Depending on the type of the gripper RABS can provide service in the range of hours, compared to minutes of hovering based ABSs. In theory it is possible that grasping can be energy neutral, hence service time is bounded by the communication components energy consumption. To illustrate the case, energy consumption comparison between hovering and grasping is performed in order to reveal the significant benefits of the proposed approach. Finally, overarching challenges, design considerations for RABS, and future avenues of research are outlined to realize the full potential of the proposed robotic aerial base stations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 IEEE International Mediterranean Conference on Communications and Networking, MeditCom 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages336-341
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781665445054
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event2021 IEEE International Mediterranean Conference on Communications and Networking, MeditCom 2021 - Athens, Greece
Duration: 7 Sept 202110 Sept 2021

Publication series

Name2021 IEEE International Mediterranean Conference on Communications and Networking, MeditCom 2021

Conference

Conference2021 IEEE International Mediterranean Conference on Communications and Networking, MeditCom 2021
Country/TerritoryGreece
CityAthens
Period7/09/202110/09/2021

Keywords

  • 6G
  • Airborne base station
  • Drone
  • Robotic grippers
  • Small cells
  • UAV
  • Wireless communications

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