December 01, 2019

The Essential Guide to Realizing 5G-Connected UAVs with Massive MIMO

  • Bjornson E.
  • Ding M.
  • Galati Giordano L.
  • Garcia Rodriguez A.
  • Geraci G.
  • Lopez-Perez D.

What will it take for drones -- and the whole associated ecosystem -- to take off? Arguably, infallible command and control (C&C) channels for safe and autonomous flying, and high-throughput links for multi-purpose live video streaming. And indeed, meeting these aspirations may entail a full cellular support, provided through 5G-and-beyond hardware and software upgrades by both mobile operators and manufacturers of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In this article, we vouch for massive MIMO as the key building block to realize 5G-connected UAVs. Through the sheer evidence of 3GPP-compliant simulations, we demonstrate how massive MIMO can be enhanced by complementary network-based and UAVbased solutions, resulting in consistent UAV C&C support, large UAV uplink data rates, and harmonious coexistence with legacy ground users.

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