Issues Surrounding Communications with Micro Air Vehicles

  • Christian Michelson
Reference work entry


Micro air vehicles (MAVs) face a unique set of challenges due to their size. Limited payload capacity leads to considerable constraints on power sources, sensors, and communication systems. Power sources are by far the most weight-inefficient components on an MAV. MAV designers are forced to look elsewhere to optimize their designs. The best way to do so in lieu of focusing on improving battery technology is to optimize the systems that draw power, thereby increasing endurance. Motors, onboard processing, and communications transceivers are the largest three power consumers on MAVs today. While motors and embedded processing are important to optimize, the sheer number of available communications options may leave MAV designers unsure how to proceed. By building an MAV around its onboard communications system, designers can increase reliability, endurance, and capability with little or no added cost. Making the right data link and antenna choices at the beginning of the MAV design process greatly eases the constraints later in the project. Specific MAV missions can and should inform the choice of the best communication architecture. Care must be taken to ensure that the end result meets the power, aerodynamic, and electromagnetic requirements for the particular MAV and its particular mission. This chapter seeks to answer many of the communications link questions that MAV designers may have and give a high-level overview of the factors that affect MAV data and control links.


Modulation Scheme Data Link Code Division Multiple Access Patch Antenna Time Division Multiple Access 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Test Engineering DivisionGeorgia Tech Research InstituteAtlantaUSA

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