17 October 2014 DAZZLE project: UAV to ground communication system using a laser and a modulated retro-reflector
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Abstract
The advent of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has generated the need for reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements for communications systems with a high data rate, enhanced security and quality of service. This paper presents the current results of the DAZZLE project run by Airbus Group Innovations. The specifications, integration steps and initial performance of a UAV to ground communication system using a laser and a modulated retro-reflector are detailed. The laser operates at the wavelength of 1550nm and at power levels that keep it eye safe. It is directed using a FLIR pan and tilt unit driven by an image processing-based system that tracks the UAV in flight at a range of a few kilometers. The modulated retro-reflector is capable of a data rate of 20Mbps over short distances, using 200mW of electrical power. The communication system was tested at the Pershore Laser Range in July 2014. Video data from a flying Octocopter was successfully transmitted over 1200m. During the next phase of the DAZZLE project, the team will attempt to produce a modulated retro-reflector capable of 1Gbps in partnership with the research institute Acreo1 based in Sweden. A high speed laser beam steering capability based on a Spatial Light Modulator will also be added to the system to improve beam pointing accuracy.
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Yoann Thueux, Nicholas Avlonitis, Gavin Erry, "DAZZLE project: UAV to ground communication system using a laser and a modulated retro-reflector", Proc. SPIE 9248, Unmanned/Unattended Sensors and Sensor Networks X, 92480P (17 October 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2062610; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2062610
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