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Drone Sounder

Dr. LanemanPrincipal Investigator: 

Dr. Laneman, Department of Electrical Engineering. This project also involves Dr. Lin, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Dr. Striegel from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. 

Project Summary:

Drone Sounder is a platform for obtaining wireless measurements for both drone-to-ground and drone-to-drone communications. Network-level measurements can be obtained from a custom app running on a commercial smartphone, and signal-level measurements and waveform prototyping can be achieved by programming a software-defined radio (SDR). These measurements can be used to understand and optimize the performance of existing network deployments, such as 4G LTE cellular and IEEE 802.11 WiFi networks, and also to design new transmission schemes for 5G and beyond. Addressing these communications-related problems will be key to realizing the vision of control of drone swarms beyond line-of-sight, and enabling such applications as remote infrastructure inspection, autonomous deliveries, and rapid response to emergencies.

Student's Role:

Undergraduate student researchers will join our team and help evolve and operate the drone platforms from which wireless radio signal spectrum measurements are made. The team has acquired several drones and licenses to operate them over an extended area around the Notre Dame campus and the neighboring city of South Bend, IN. New projects can emphasize combinations of the following: conceiving measurements to draw conclusions about the nature of wireless propagation, network connectivity, and the interference environment at heights of 20-400 feet; integrating new hardware components such as radios, filters, amplifiers, and antennas to improve the quality of the measurements; extending the software for processing measurements using C(++) and Python programming languages; and collecting flight data and analyzing it using tools like Excel and MATLAB. Basic proficiency in hardware and software from electrical engineering and computer science can be applied to these projects, and experience flying drones and/or operating amateur radios are a big plus.