What are some novel uses for drones

5G drone flight: first experiments

research results

Drones are being used in more and more applications. So that these can be perceived safely and reliably in our airspace, drones need a connection to high-performance cellular networks. The new generation of 5G cellular networks promises new possibilities with high data rates and short latency times. A team of researchers from the University of Klagenfurt, Lakeside Labs GmbH, Magenta Telekom GmbH and Deutsche Telekom AG has now carried out drone tests in a commercial 5G network in Feichtendorf, Austria, where Magenta operates a 5G base station. The scientific results were presented in mid-June at the ACM MobiSys conference.

"If you want to communicate with drones via mobile communications, this poses new challenges for the networks," explains Christian Raffelsberger, project manager at Lakeside Labs GmbH. Previous networks have been designed in such a way that data exchange is optimized for devices on the ground. However, a drone is in the air: It can happen that it has visual connections to many base stations and that the data exchange starts to falter. On the other hand, the drone itself also causes disruptions in the network.

In order to find out how quickly information can be sent to the drone or back to the base station, the team in Carinthia carried out initial field experiments. Christian Bettstetter, Professor of Mobile Systems at the University of Klagenfurt and Scientific Director of Lakeside Labs GmbH, explains the results: “From the base station to the drone, we can already make good use of the advantages of 5G and transfer it at an average of 600 Mbit / s. On the return route we were only able to achieve data rates that are comparable to LTE / 4G. "

The 5G base station in Feichtendorf also sends LTE signals at the same time. The experiments have shown that in case of doubt, the drone falls back on the LTE signal, which is currently still stronger.

In order to be able to use the new technologies efficiently in the future, solutions are now needed. Christian Raffelsberger emphasizes: "In the further development of the mobile radio standard, it will be taken into account that they can also be used by drones in the future." For example, antennas can be controlled specifically between air and ground space so that the individual objects receive as much power as possible and at the same time as little themselves as possible Trigger disturbances.


Scientific contact:
DI Dr. Christian Raffelsberger
+43 (0)463 28 70 77
[email protected]

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Bettstetter
+43 463 2700 3641
[email protected]
Original publication:
Muzaffar, R., Raffelsberger, C., Fakhreddine, López Luque, J., Emini, D. & Bettstetter, C .: First experiments with a 5G-connected drone. Proceedings ACM Workshop on Micro Aerial Vehicle Networks, Systems, and Applications (DroNet), 2020. https://doi.org/10.1145/3396864.3400304.