Practical Demonstration: Drone Testing and Implementation

For the purpose of validating the output in a practical environment, a test bed of emergency communication network (ECN) was implemented and  tested for operating in catastrophe-prone areas along the coastline of Central Vietnam. The key focus is the validation of the drone kit as flying station testbed which is able to allow operating in disaster areas. The novelty of emergency communication is to design and experiment in a completely integrated fashion leading towards a fully-functioning practical implementation of ECN.

A basic model for setting up Drone-kit

The major components of a typical drone includes drone frame kit, flying controller, motor, speed controller, propeller, battery, power control, remote transmitter and receiver for driving drone, and other accessories (battery charger, battery checker, connecting wires, wireless connection  such as WiFi, 3G/4G, LoRa, micro cable, antenna, etc.), as shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1: Major components of a typical drone

Drone 1 – Small size

Drone 1 is equipped with 5-inch frame, Emax F4 Magnum controller, LiPo 4S-95C battery 1550mAh, Foxeer 1080p WDR mini camera, FrSky Taranis QX7 digital telemetry radio 2.4GHz, and Beitian BN-880 flight control GPS module (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: a) Components for setting up drone 1, b) Embedded components for drone 1, c) Options for drone 1

Drone 2 – Medium size

The drone 2 is equipped with FPV S500 fiber quadcopter frame kit (500mm length), DJI Naza-M lite multi-rotor flight controller and GPS module, Skywalker speed controller 30A, SunnySky X2216 1100KV motor, LiPo 3S-45C battery 2300mAh, Foxeer Flakor 1200TVL camera 4:3/16:9, Foxeer ClearTX 5.8G 48CH video transmitter, and FrSky Taranis QX7 digital telemetry radio 2.4GHz and XM with receiver (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Drone 2 with full components

Drone 3 – Large size

The drone 3 is equipped with DJI F550 frame kit (550mm length), DJI Naza-M lite multi-rotor flight controller and GPS module, ESC spedix 30A speed controller, Emax copter motor MT2216-810KV, LiPo 4S-45C battery 2300mAh, Foxeer Flakor 1200TVL camera 4:3/16:9, Foxeer ClearTX 5.8G 48CH video transmitter, and FrSky Taranis QX7 digital telemetry radio 2.4GHz and XM with receiver (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Drone 3 with camera and telemetry radio control

Drone applications

Camera can be embedded in Drone-Kit for monitoring applications such as identify unexplored lands, first-response missions, construction supervision, and critical-mission communications (disaster relief, rescue mission). With GPS modules embedded, the drones can be used for mission navigation, mission pilot, and mission rescue. Furthermore, IoT applications can be exploited on drone-Kit for air quality monitoring, landslide monitoring, and detection and rescue mission.

We did undertake the design of ECN by embedded programming system within a practical environment by setting up the need equipment and services as follows:

  • Develop cloud/fog based services via web-app monitoring for host-server management and end-user client applications.
  • Implement some smart devices (i.e., smartphones, sensors) as typical mobile users for anechoic chamber testing and outdoor arena testing.
  • Build emergency wireless connectivity platform by using 4G/5G, Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN, Satellite, etc., for providing the secure and resilient disaster communications.
  • Design and use specific UAV-kits integrating 3G/4G/5G small-cell platform as flying base stations for providing fog computing nodes in the ECN.

We have been training an extrapolating and prediction model estimate coastal variables at major coastal areas to further improve the risk reduction and resilience to coastal hazards in Vietnam.

Fig. 5: Some testing and implementation activities
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