Experimental validation of gaussian process-based air-to-ground communication quality prediction in urban environments

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This paper presents a detailed experimental assessment of Gaussian Process (GP) regression for air-to-ground communication channel prediction for relay missions in urban environment. Considering restrictions from outdoor urban flight experiments, a way to simulate complex urban environments at an indoor room scale is introduced. Since water significantly absorbs wireless communication signal, water containers are utilized to replace buildings in a real-world city. To evaluate the performance of the GP-based channel prediction approach, several indoor experiments in an artificial urban environment were conducted. The performance of the GP-based and empirical model-based prediction methods for a relay mission was evaluated by measuring and comparing the communication signal strength at the optimal relay position obtained from each method. The GP-based prediction approach shows an advantage over the model-based one as it provides a reasonable performance without a need for a priori information of the environment (e.g., 3D map of the city and communication model parameters) in dynamic urban environments.