A framework for using unmanned aerial vehicles for data collection in linear wireless sensor networks

Imad Jawhar, Nader Mohamed, Jameela Al-Jaroodi, Sheng Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    117 Citations (Scopus)


    The wireless sensor network (WSN) technology have been evolving very quickly in recent years. Sensors are constantly increasing in sensing, processing, storage, and communication capabilities. In many WSNs that are used in environmental, commercial and military applications, the sensors are lined linearly due to the linear nature of the structure or area that is being monitored making a special class of these networks; We defined these in a previous paper as Linear Sensor Networks (LSNs), and provided a classification of the different types of LSNs. A pure multihop approach to route the data all the way along the linear network (e.g. oil, gas and water pipeline monitoring, border monitoring, road-side monitoring, etc.), which can extend for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers can be very costly from an energy dissipation point of view. In order to significantly reduce the energy consumption used in data transmission and extend the network lifetime, we present a framework for monitoring linear infrastructures using LSNs where data collection and transmission is done using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The system defines four types of nodes, which include: sensor nodes (SNs), relay nodes (RNs), UAVs, and sinks. The SNs use a classic WSN multihop routing approach to transmit their data to the nearest RN, which acts as a cluster head for its surrounding SNs. Then, a UAV moves back and forth along the linear network and transport the data that is collected by the RNs to the sinks located at both ends of the LSN. We name this network architecture a UAV-based LSNs (ULSNs). This approach leads to considerable savings in node energy consumption, due to a significant reduction of the transmission ranges of the SN and RN nodes and the use of a one-hop transmission to communicate the data from the RNs to the UAV. Furthermore, the strategy provides for reduced interference between the RNs that can be caused by hidden terminal and collision problems, that would be expected if a pure multihop approach is used at the RN level. In addition, three different UAV movement approaches are presented, simulated, and analyzed in order to measure system performance under various network conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)437-453
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems: Theory and Applications
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


    • Delay-tolerant networks (DTNs)
    • Ferry
    • Mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs)
    • Monitoring
    • Routing
    • Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
    • Wireless sensor networks (WSNs)

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Software
    • Control and Systems Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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