Wireless Network Demands of Data Products from Small Uncrewed Aerial Systems at Hurricane Ian

by   Thomas Manzini, et al.

Data collected at Hurricane Ian (2022) quantifies the demands that small uncrewed aerial systems (UAS), or drones, place on the network communication infrastructure and identifies gaps in the field. Drones have been increasingly used since Hurricane Katrina (2005) for disaster response, however getting the data from the drone to the appropriate decision makers throughout incident command in a timely fashion has been problematic. These delays have persisted even as countries such as the USA have made significant investments in wireless infrastructure, rapidly deployable nodes, and an increase in commercial satellite solutions. Hurricane Ian serves as a case study of the mismatch between communications needs and capabilities. In the first four days of the response, nine drone teams flew 34 missions under the direction of the State of Florida FL-UAS1, generating 636GB of data. The teams had access to six different wireless communications networks but had to resort to physically transferring data to the nearest intact emergency operations center in order to make the data available to the relevant agencies. The analysis of the mismatch contributes a model of the drone data-to-decision workflow in a disaster and quantifies wireless network communication requirements throughout the workflow in five factors. Four of the factors-availability, bandwidth, burstiness, and spatial distribution-were previously identified from analyses of Hurricanes Harvey (2017) and Michael (2018). This work adds upload rate as a fifth attribute. The analysis is expected to improve drone design and edge computing schemes as well as inform wireless communication research and development.


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