Increasing Drone Performance through A Better UAV Data Link

The strength of your drone lies in the quality of its UAV data link and the choices made by the drone manufacturing community. Learn about the must-have features.

The explosion of new drones in today’s market is an exciting glimpse into the future where autonomous technology (self-driving cars, home robots, etc.) will play increasingly larger roles in our daily lives. As UAV communication technology evolves to fit the needs of the industrial and commercial communities, what are today’s manufacturers looking for in their drone data links?

Winning features for a UAV Data Link

MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) technology, in which multiple antennas are used at both the transmitting side and the receiving end, is one step in maximizing drone control. The antennas at each end of the communications circuit are combined in order to minimize errors like multipath fading and optimize data speed. The efficient nature of this system allows for higher data rates at longer distances, for flight over water and in urban areas, and for navigation in Near-Line-of-Sight conditions.

As with any drone, weight plays a huge role in the effectiveness of a drone. The three main communication channels of a drone (control, telemetry, and payload) oftentimes exist as separate systems, generating excess weight and thus detracting from drone flight performance. Today, the three fundamentals of drone communication are combined into a single, streamlined RF channel with SkyHopper Bi-Directional Data Links. Moreover, SkyHopper PRO does not add significant weight to a drone nor does it take much space as it weighs a mere 3.7 ounces (even less if embedded into the drone) and has a very small form factor, measuring 1.0” x 2.1” x 2.9”.

Apart from technical considerations, an important factor in choosing a UAV data link is safety. Back in 2015, Rahul Sasi demonstrated how easy it is to use malware to disable a quadcopter in mid-flight. By 2017, an ISACA poll revealed that 75% of its global members say security/privacy is their greatest concern about the use of drones for business. Whether serving as a surveillance mechanism or inspection agent, the implications of a hacked drone are far-reaching and concerning. The threat of sensitive video data and navigational systems being accessed and tampered with exists across the industry. In search of a truly secure and encrypted connection, many drone manufacturers are turning to products like SkyHopper, which offers federal government standard AES 128 encryption combined with its own advanced proprietary encryption mechanism.

Keeping Drone Communication Alive

Whether developed to aid in search and rescue missions, for better journalism coverage, as a high tech toy, or simply as the next start-up company’s billion dollar product innovation, the strength of tomorrow’s drone will lie in the quality of its UAV data links and the thoughtful, well-informed choices of the drone manufacturing community with respect to their communication systems.