Conference paper Open Access

Drone-aided Localization in LoRa IoT Networks

Victor Delafontaine; Fabrizio Schiano; Giuseppe Cocco; Alexandru Rusu; Dario Floreano

Besides being part of the Internet of Things (IoT), drones can play a relevant role in it as enablers. The 3D mobility of UAVs can be exploited to improve node localization in IoT networks for, e.g., search and rescue or goods localization and tracking. One of the widespread IoT communication technologies is Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN), which allows achieving long communication distances with low power. In this work, we present a drone-aided localization system for LoRa networks in which a UAV is used to improve the estimation of a node’s location initially provided by the network. We characterize the relevant parameters of the communication system and use them to develop and test a search algorithm in a realistic simulated scenario. We then move to the full implementation of a real system in which a drone is seamlessly integrated into Swisscom’s LoRa network. The
drone coordinates with the network with a two-way exchange of information which results in an accurate and fully autonomous
localization system. The results obtained in our field tests show a ten-fold improvement in localization precision with respect
to the estimation provided by the fixed network. Up to our knowledge, this is the first time a UAV is successfully integrated
in a LoRa network to improve its localization accuracy.

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