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A hardware module for Robust and Resilient UAVs Communications

Topic description

Business Intelligence expects sales of UAVs to reach $12 billion in 2021. This future growth is expected to occur across three main sectors: 1) Consumer UAV shipments which are projected to reach 29 million in 2021; 2) Enterprise UAV shipments which are projected to reach 805,000 in 2021; 3) Government UAVs for combat and surveillance. Smart UAVs will provide a unique opportunity for UAV manufacturers to utilise new technological trends to overcome the current challenges of UAV applications.

In the very near future, the number of connected mobile nodes and devices is expected to increase significantly. The demand for high throughput, safe and secure communications and interoperability with lower energy consumption drive the industry and research efforts for the development of technologies to fulfil these requirements.

The application of UAVs in support of public safety communications is shrouded by privacy concerns and a lack of comprehensive policies, regulations, and governance for UAVs. Furthermore, there are several challenges and needed future extensions to facilitate the use of UAVs in support of ITS applications. One of the important challenges is to preserve the privacy of sensitive information (e.g., location) from other vehicles and drones. Since usually there is no encryption on UAVs onboard chips, they can be hijacked and subjected to man-in-middle attacks originating up to two kilometres away. UAVs that are used to gather sensitive information might become targets for malicious software seeking to steal data.

The proposal addresses these different challenges on UAV applications by looking at diversity techniques and how these could be combined with efficient encoding schemes.

The PhD student will develop a hardware module for secure and resilient communication between multi- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems. The scheme leverages state-of-the-art encoding and decoding structures and unique algorithmic processes to achieve optimal communications in high mobility scenarios for UAVs while overcomes specific challenges in existing systems. The module will be resistant to radio interference and interception attacks, can be easily deployed in a wide range of drone communication settings and is fully interoperable with existing hardware.


Skills required

The candidate should have earned an MSc degree, or equivalent, in one of the following fields: wireless communications, digital communications, information theory, signal processing, applied mathematics. He/She should have a strong background in digital communications and information theory as well as in signal processing for wireless communications. The candidate should be familiar with Matlab and C/C++ language or Python. The qualified candidate should also be knowledgeable in hardware architecture design for VHDL and FPGA implementation.  Knowledge in UAVs and cybersecurity would be an advantage. Preferably full-time students, however, part-time applicants are welcome!

Background reading
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Dr Dhouha Kbaier

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