Frontier Progress of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Optical Wireless Technologies

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Sep 24;20(19):5476. doi: 10.3390/s20195476.


With the continuous maturity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in materials, communications, and other related technologies, the UAV industry has developed rapidly in recent years. In order to cope with the diversified emerging business forms, the explosive growth of the scale of data traffic, number of terminal connections, high reliability, low-latency, and high transmission rate provided by the fifth generation (5G) network will inject new vitality into the development of the UAVs industry. In this paper, optical wireless technology is introduced into the UAV platform, combining theory with practical applications. We explain many research advances and key technologies in the four aspects of "air, space, earth, and sea" to achieve a strong and broadband communication link. This discussion focuses on link modeling, parameter optimization, experimental testing, and the status quo of UAVs in different application scenarios with optical wireless link configurations. At the same time, based on the current situation of UAV optical wireless technology, the technical problems and the research direction in the future are also discussed.

Keywords: free space optics; optical communications link; optical wireless communications; unmanned aerial vehicle; visible light communications.

Publication types

  • Review