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18319 Cumulus Humilis: Wireless mesh-networking for gliders
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Baardman, R. (2010) Cumulus Humilis: Wireless mesh-networking for gliders. Master's thesis, University of Twente.

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During cross-country flights, it is common to carry a mobile computer in the cockpit of the glider. The mobile computers are used to assist the pilot with navigation and computation of the optimal speed for the pilot to fly. For these purposes, the mobile computer is connected to a GPS receiver and gathers a vast amount of information during the flight. The exchange of this information has the potential to provide insight not only to the pilot himself but also to other pilots and people on the ground. If the information could be sent to the ground, family and friends of the pilots could watch the flight live. If a pilot experiences an emergency situation, a search-and-rescue team can directly know his location. This can be vital for the pilot's survival. Also, information from the ground can be of great value to the pilot. Delivery of large-scale weather developments to the pilot enables him to adapt his strategy early and not to be surprised by the changing weather conditions. For example when high clouds approach, block incoming sunlight and thus reduce the formation of rising air, the pilot could then be informed to head home earlier to prevent an outlanding. During measurement flights, the real-time communication of sensor readings and feedback from the ground to the pilot can greatly improve the productivity of each measurement flight.

To the best of our knowledge, there exists no low-cost solution for communication and information exchange to this extent between gliders. In this thesis, we aim at designing such a solution using opportunistic dissemination through a mesh network. Using existing long-range transceivers, a mesh network - a network in which each participant (node) can act as a router - is formed. Each node in the network can move around freely and the network can still operate when a node breaks down or a connection breaks down. To cope with situations in which very few gliders fly, we use opportunistic dissemination. Opportunistic dissemination utilizes the storage available on the nodes in the network to physically transport information. A node can remember information, to forward it when it is connected to other nodes interested in this information. Over the network thus created, information can be disseminated. In this paper, we focus on disseminating three types of information, namely (i) High-priority periodical positional information: used for example for tracking and emergencies, (ii) Low-priority large bursts of information: e.g. weather information, and (iii) Low-priority periodical large amounts information: e.g. sensor readings.

A challenge faced in designing our opportunistic dissemination is how to handle the different types of information. While the network should be able to cope with the movement of the nodes (mobility), it should still be able to scale to a large number of nodes(scalability). It may also not waste much communications on operations not directly related to dissemination of information (communication overhead), for example maintaining connections to nearby nodes. Therefore, we take support for mobility, scalability and low communication overhead as the main requirements while designing our dissemination protocol. In addition, we investigate applicability of existing routing and dissemination protocols for information exchange between gliders.

Item Type:Master's Thesis
Research Group:EWI-PS: Pervasive Systems
ID Code:18319
Deposited On:06 September 2010
More Information:statistics

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