Adding WiFi To Drones

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What do you get when you combine off-the-shelf drones, WiFi transceivers, and Tango-enabled tablets? According to the researchers at UC Santa Barbara, a way to perform 3D imaging of objects hidden by walls

WiFi signals are everywhere these days. Unmanned aerial vehicles are expected to become a part of our near-future society. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara, Chitra R. Karanam and Yasamin Mosto€, propose a new methodology which enables the first demonstration of high-resolution 3D through-wall imaging of completely unknown areas.

According to their paper, the technique is quite simple. Two drones move outside of an unknown area, and together they collect wireless received power measurements. The data collected is then used to reconstruct a 3D image of the unknown area. Their methodology includes using only WiFi signals and unmanned aerial vehicles. Some of the key features of their approach are as follows:

Some of the key features of their approach are as follows:

  1. Only WiFi RSSI measurements are used
  2. No prior measurements need to be made in the area of interest
  3. The objects do not have to move to be imaged.

MORE: Allianz Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program

There are several potential applications that could possibly benefit from obtaining a high-resolution 3D image of an unknown area through walls with safe everyday WiFi signals. These include archeological discovery, structural monitoring, disaster management, emergency response, surveillance, and search and rescue.

While they did experience a challenge with “enabling 3D though-wall imaging of real areas is considerably more challenging due to the considerable increase in the number of unknowns”, they did propose a new framework for reconstructing the 3D image of an unknown area. heck out the video below:

Check out the video below:

For the full paper and more technical details, please click here.


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