Opportunistic Airborne Virtual Network Infrastructure for Urban Wireless Networks

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


We study the suitability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as purely opportunistic airborne virtual network infrastructure to support urban wireless networks, specifically in two Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) use cases: First, UAVs being used as relays for cooperative awareness applications; second, UAVs being used to coordinate channel access for platooning in urban areas. We do not require that these UAVs alter trajectory nor speed from those of their random, unrelated primary missions, so that these additional tasks can be executed with close-to-zero impact on the execution of their primary missions. Based on extensive computer simulations we show that, within a wide band of acceptable speeds, flight routes (up to a standard deviation of 300 m from the optimum) as well as altitudes, opportunistic relaying of transmissions via UAVs can yield a benefit to system performance that is on the same order of magnitude as that of optimally deployed UAVs. We further show that an opportunistic channel access control can reduce the total number of packet collisions by approx. 86 % compared to a scenario without any UAVs. Moreover, much of the reduction in impact due to suboptimal missions can be recovered simply by moderately increasing the number of UAVs.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-230
Number of pages11
JournalComputer Communications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

External IDs

Bibtex nsm-hardes2023airbone
ORCID /0000-0002-8846-8374/work/142241970
Scopus 85163957500
WOS 001033441500001
Mendeley 5327dfe4-6848-3353-850d-c2b19bf98d7c


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Drones, Simulation, Uav, Vehicular networking

Library keywords