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Latency-aware and-predictable communication with open protocol stacks for remote drone control

Publication by Marlene Böhmer, Andreas Schmidt, Pablo Gil Pereira, Thorsten Herfet
Related to the Energy-, Latency- And Resilience-aware Networking (e.LARN) project
Published in 2020 16th International Conference on Distributed Computing in Sensor Systems (DCOSS), 2020


In order to create cooperating swarms of Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (UAVs) that also interact with various other systems and devices, open and free communication systems are mandatory. This paper presents an implementation of such a communication system to incorporate the Crazyflie nano-drone as a UAV platform. The protocol stack leverages the open Predictably Reliable Real-time Transport (PRRT) protocol that adds latency-awareness and -predictability to stacks composed of standard Internet protocols. To enable the drone to receive and reply to control commands via Wi-Fi, it has been extended with a Raspberry Pi that runs two variants of the Crazybridge-a software to connect the control board to the network. To evaluate how practical this solution is for the use in control applications, the communication has been analysed with a focus on the latency properties. Our investigations show that despite using the open protocol stack-and hence opting out of specialised implementations-the resulting latencies are in the same order of magnitude (4 to 9 ms) as the latency of the proprietary link.