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We present an energy-aware approach for enabling communication between a wireless ground-based sensor network, and an overhead unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Specifically, we present a technique for assembling a subset of sensor nodes into a distributed antenna array useful for beamforming. A small subset of sensor nodes receives and aggregates information gathered by the network, and forms a distributed antenna array, concentrating the radiated transmission into a narrow beam aimed towards the UAV. Although, in general, the relative orientations of the elements in a distributed antenna array have an effect on antenna performance, our proposed approach can be employed in scenarios where the individual sensor nodes do not have knowledge of their location within an absolute coordinate system.
Date of Conference: 16-18 April 2007