Drone-aided Localization in LoRa IoT Networks

Besides being part of the Internet of Things (IoT), drones can play a relevant role in it as enablers. The 3D mobility of UAVs can be exploited to improve node localization in IoT networks for, e.g., search and rescue or goods localization and tracking. One of the widespread IoT communication technologies is Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN), which allows achieving long communication distances with low power. In this work, we present a drone-aided localization system for LoRa networks in which a UAV is used to improve the estimation of a node's location initially provided by the network. We characterize the relevant parameters of the communication system and use them to develop and test a search algorithm in a realistic simulated scenario. We then move to the full implementation of a real system in which a drone is seamlessly integrated into Swisscom's LoRa network. The drone coordinates with the network with a two-way exchange of information which results in an accurate and fully autonomous localization system. The results obtained in our field tests show a ten-fold improvement in localization precision with respect to the estimation provided by the fixed network. Up to our knowledge, this is the first time a UAV is successfully integrated in a LoRa network to improve its localization accuracy.

Presented at:
2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), virtual conference (originally Paris, France), 1-5 June 2020 (originally 31 May - 4 Jun)
May 11 2020
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 Record created 2020-05-11, last modified 2020-05-12

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