Online Positioning of a Drone-Mounted Base Station in Emergency Scenarios

Tom R. Pijnappel (Corresponding author), J.L. (Hans) van den Berg, Sem C. Borst, Remco Litjens

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Wireless communication networks provide a critical infrastructure, particularly in emergency situations due to disruptive events such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. However, in these kinds of scenarios part of the network may no longer be operational and a traffic hotspot may emerge, which may result in coverage and/or capacity issues. Deploying self-steering drone-mounted base stations offers a potential method to quickly restore coverage and/or provide capacity relief in such situations, but appropriate positioning is crucial in order for a drone base station to be truly effective. Motivated by that challenge, we propose a data-driven algorithm to optimize the position of a drone base station in a scenario with a site failure and emergence of a traffic hotspot. We demonstrate that the use of a drone, when properly positioned, yields significant performance gains, and that our algorithm outperforms benchmark mechanisms in a wide range of scenarios. In addition, we show that our algorithm is able to find a near-optimal position for the drone in a reasonable amount of time, and even has the ability to track the optimal position in case of a moving hotspot.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10306324
Pages (from-to)5572-5586
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number4
Early online date3 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • 5G
  • drone base stations
  • drone base station positioning
  • data-driven algorithm
  • dynamic traffic hotspot
  • Measurement
  • Base stations
  • Heuristic algorithms
  • Search problems
  • Resource management
  • Optimization
  • Drones


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