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Publication Date

Third Quarter 2021

Manuscript Submission Deadline

Special Issue

Call for Papers

Applications of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been fast growing during the past few years. However, traditional UAV systems mainly rely on simple direct communication between the UAV and the ground pilot over unlicensed spectrum (e.g., ISM 2.4 GHz), which is typically of low data rate, unreliable, insecure, vulnerable to interference, difficult to monitor and manage, and has very short operation range. To overcome the above limitations, there has been significant interest in integrating UAVs into cellular networks, e.g., 5G networks. On the one hand, UAVs with their own missions could be connected to cellular networks as new aerial users by exploiting advanced cellular technologies and the almost ubiquitous accessibility of cellular networks. On the other hand, dedicated UAVs could be deployed as aerial base stations (BSs), access points (APs), or relays to assist 5G and beyond terrestrial wireless communications from the sky, leading to another paradigm known as UAV-assisted communications. UAV-assisted communications have several promising advantages, such as the ability to facilitate on-demand deployment, high flexibility in network reconfiguration, and high chance of having LoS communication links. Both paradigms are closely related to the 5G commercial scenarios including enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine-type communications (mMTC), and ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC), either providing reliable and seamless connectivity for UAVs or leveraging UAVs to enhance the 5G communication capability. In addition, UAV related sensing and computing are also helpful for achieving efficient and reliable communication (e.g. in avoiding coverage holes) as well as smart UAV coordination, positioning, and trajectory design. However, 5G and beyond wireless networks with UAVs are significantly different from conventional communication systems, due to the high altitude and high mobility of UAVs, the unique channel characteristics of UAV-ground links, the asymmetric quality of service (QoS) requirements for downlink command and control (C&C) and uplink mission-related data transmission, the stringent constraints imposed by the size, weight, and power (SWAP) limitations of UAVs, as well as the additional design degrees of freedom enabled by joint UAV mobility control and communication resource allocation.

This special issue will focus on key theoretical and practical design issues for both paradigms of cellular-connected UAVs and UAV-assisted wireless communications. Topics of interest in this special issue include but not limited to the following:

  • Channel modeling for UAV-ground and UAV-UAV communications
  • New architectures and communication protocols for cellular-connected UAVs
  • Spectrum management and multiple access schemes for cellular-connected UAVs
  • Interference mitigation for cellular-connected UAVs
  • Cellular systems with coexisting aerial and ground users
  • 3D beamforming for cellular-connected UAVs
  • Massive MIMO/Millimeter wave communications for cellular-connected UAVs
  • 3D aerial base station placement
  • UAV-aided eMBB, MMTC, URLLC
  • Online/offline and machine learning based UAV trajectory optimization
  • Joint trajectory design and resource allocation for UAV-assisted wireless communication
  • Spectrum sharing and coordination between aerial and ground BSs
  • Fundamental tradeoffs in UAV wireless networks
  • Energy-efficient UAV communications
  • UAV swarm in 5G and beyond
  • UAV channel estimation and pilot decontamination
  • UAV meets wireless power transfer, caching, edge computing, etc.
  • Physical layer security and techniques in wireless networks with UAVs

Submission Guidelines

Prospective authors should submit their manuscripts following the IEEE JSAC guidelines. Authors should submit a PDF version of their complete manuscript to EDAS according to the following schedule:

Important Dates

Manuscript Submission Deadline: 15 October 2020
First Notification: 15 January 2021
Acceptance Notification: 15 March 2021
Final Manuscript Due: 1 April 2021
Planned Publication: Third Quarter 2021

Guest Editors

Qingqing Wu (Lead Guest Editor)
National University of Singapore, Singapore

Jie Xu
Guangdong University of Technology, China

Yong Zeng
Southeast University, China

Derrick Wing Kwan Ng
The University of New South Wales, Australia

Naofal Al-Dhahir
The University of Texas at Dallas, USA

Robert Schober
Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen- Nürnberg, Germany

A. Lee Swindlehurst
University of California, Irvine, USA