CAREER: Towards Broadband and UAV-Assisted Heterogeneous Networks for Public Safety Communications Grant

CAREER: Towards Broadband and UAV-Assisted Heterogeneous Networks for Public Safety Communications .


  • Public safety communication (PSC) can help save lives, property, and national infrastructure in case of incidents such as fires, terrorist attacks or natural disasters. Until recently, such communication has been mostly handled by wireless technologies operating in narrow spectrum bands. However, such technologies fall short of addressing public safety requirements, such as deep situational awareness features that necessitate video streaming capabilities. This research proposes the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) along with cellular technologies within a novel and transformative framework that will serve as the pillar of next generation PSC systems. Reaping the benefits of the proposed architecture requires addressing several technical challenges including: 1) potentially damaged network infrastructure, as in the aftermath of an earthquake, causing severe connectivity problems; 2) dynamically varying interference between aerial and ground base stations as well as user equipment, hindering broadband throughput; 3) seamless connectivity problems, in the form of handover failures, exacerbated by dynamic interference and infrastructure mobility. For addressing these challenges, the proposed research will lay down an interdisciplinary research agenda that combines broadband wireless networks, UAV communications, software defined radios, reinforcement learning, and stochastic geometry, into an integrated and synergistic framework. The project will introduce several innovations that involve self organizing interference and mobility management techniques to achieve ubiquitous broadband connectivity for PSC networks. A comprehensive hardware/software PSC testbed with powerful UAV and radio equipment will be developed to validate, evaluate, and improve the proposed solutions. The theoretical and experimental outcomes will break new ground in PSC systems by enabling real-time wireless multimedia and deep situational awareness capabilities in mission-critical PSC scenarios. Close industrial collaboration will reinforce the proposed testbed, prototyping, and educational efforts, and allow training of undergraduate/graduate students in industrial labs. Outreach activities to local high-schools will attract underrepresented minorities, particularly Hispanics, into STEM areas and the field of wireless networks.

date/time interval

  • April 1, 2015 - March 31, 2020

sponsor award ID

  • 1453678