Sustainable Wireless Services with UAV Swarms Tailored to Renewable Energy Sources

by   Igor Donevski, et al.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) swarms are often required in off-grid scenarios, such as disaster-struck, war-torn or rural areas, where the UAVs have no access to the power grid and instead rely on renewable energy. Considering a main battery fed from two renewable sources, wind and solar, we scale such a system based on the financial budget, environmental characteristics, and seasonal variations. Interestingly, the source of energy is correlated with the energy expenditure of the UAVs, since strong winds cause UAV hovering to become increasingly energy-hungry. The aim is to maximize the cost efficiency of coverage at a particular location, which is a combinatorial optimization problem for dimensioning of the multivariate energy generation system under non-convex criteria. We have devised a customized algorithm by lowering the processing complexity and reducing the solution space through sampling. Evaluation is done with condensed real-world data on wind, solar energy, and traffic load per unit area, driven by vendor-provided prices. The implementation was tested in four locations, with varying wind or solar intensity. The best results were achieved in locations with mild wind presence and strong solar irradiation, while locations with strong winds and low solar intensity require higher Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) allocation.


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