A Survey of Channel Modeling for UAV Communications

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Khuwaja, Aziz Altaf; Chen, Yunfei; Zhao, Nan; Alouini, Mohamed-Slim; Dobbins, Paul
preprint description
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have gained great interest for rapid deployment in both civil and military applications. UAV communication has its own distinctive channel characteristics compared with widely used cellular and satellite systems. Thus, accurate channel characterization is crucial for the performance optimization and design of efficient UAV communication systems. However, several challenges exist in UAV channel modeling. For example, propagation characteristics of UAV channels are still less explored for spatial and temporal variations in non-stationary channels. Also, airframe shadowing has not yet been investigated for small size rotary UAVs. This paper provides an extensive survey on the measurement campaigns launched for UAV channel modeling using low altitude platforms and discusses various channel characterization efforts. We also review the contemporary perspective of UAV channel modeling approaches and outline some future research challenges in this domain.