In the near future, more than two
thirds of the world’s population are expected to be living in cities and hence,
with the aim of being proactive and finding innovative and sustainable
solutions, governments have made smart cities one of their priority areas of
Smart cities can be viewed as
sustainable, inclusive and prosperous greener cities that promote a
human-centric approach, fostering enabling smart information and communication
technologies such as internet of things, cloud computing and big data and
utilizing smart devices capable of sensing and communicating, such as unmanned
aerial vehicles, to facilitate mobility, governance, utility and energy management.
As unmanned aerial vehicles critically depend on sensors, antennas and embedded
software, they have quickly found their way into internet of things as smart
ICT devices and their applications rapidly expanded beyond the military to more
commercial ones ranging from photography/videography to disaster management,
mapping, delivery, construction sites and industrial plant inspection and other
more demanding applications that require UAVs to operate in heterogeneous
swarms in a shared low altitude airspace over populated areas.
However, as the number of these interconnected
smart ICT devices continues to grow exponentially and as sensing, actuation,
communication and control become increasingly more sophisticated with the complexity
of applications of UAVs, we are faced with a set of fundamental challenges in
their regulation and management as such systems generate, process, and exchange
large amounts of data, some of which is security-critical and privacy-sensitive
data, which makes them attractive targets for attacks.
This in turn stresses the need for establishing
globally harmonized regulations and internationally agreed upon technical
standards to keep up and govern the rapid technological advancements as well as
ensure a fair and competitive economy without interfering with individuals’
right to privacy.
One of the main obstructing barriers
hindering the realization of such complex applications in smart cities is the
lack of a resilient, scalable localization and tracking system that allows the interoperability
and integration of UAV swarms in low altitude airspace.
In this context, we study the
fundamental technical requirements and functions of a localization and tracking
system and explore its relationship to and importance in 1) addressing privacy
and data protection concerns that could arise from UAV monitoring and surveillance
applications; 2) collision avoidance and conflict resolution in highly
populated residential areas; 3) optimizing path planning, flight scheduling and
utilizing shared airspace;(transition) analysing the current standardization efforts
for each of the three aspects in order to identify and prioritise future research
questions with the aim of making a contribution towards narrowing the gap
between research and technical standardization.