Drone-Based Spectrum Analyzer Solution Under Development

By Mike Ball / 04 Aug 2021
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Drone-based RF spectrum analyser solution

SAF Tehnika has collaborated with the Electronic Communications Office of Latvia (ECO) to develop a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)-mounted radio frequency test and measurement solution. The system will be used to efficiently analyse the increasingly crowded RF spectrum in a variety of regulatory applications.

The drone-based solution will include SAF Tehnika’s Spectrum Compact lightweight spectrum analyzer, as well as dedicated software for easy data collection, storage, and analysis. It will help ensure RF spectrum control, which is an integral responsibility of telecommunications regulatory bodies. Additional software developed by mobile technology developer LMT will use artificial intelligence to identify data transmission antennas, and to ensure that UAVs are positioned optimally to collect measurements.

Previously, the size and weight of spectrum analyzers has prohibited accurate drone-based measurement increasingly popular high frequency bands, and these signals cannot be effectively evaluated from the ground level. Measurements would have to be conducted close to the transmitter, which requires special training and equipment to obtain accurate results.

The goal of this new collaboration is to develop a Spectrum Compact spectrum analyzer that is compatible with various UAVs. Compared to alternative solutions, a Spectrum Compact-powered drone system will ensure shorter flight times, improved calculations, and greater automation of flight plans, as well as more accurate real-time measurements.

The solution will enhanced safety and efficiency for field engineers. Tasks once performed tens of meters above ground will be achievable without climbing a single step. The solution will be also made available for other communications regulators worldwide.

Jānis Bārda, CEO of Electronic Communications Office of Latvia, commented: “ECO has been using Spectrum Compact handheld analyzers for years with success. So, it is a logical next step to integrate the instruments with drone technology. The new unmanned aerial vehicle solution will save time by at least 30%, which equates to thousands of manual labor hours in RF measurements performed each year. An additional benefit is that it will allow access to frequencies that could not be previously measured.”

Jānis Bergs, VP Global Sales & Marketing and President of SAF North America, said: “Given the current 5G rollout strategies of many countries, the RF spectrum is becoming saturated. The result is an increased demand for an accurate, safe, cost-effective, and easy-to-use test solution. We see tremendous potential in this application because it saves considerable time and money for customers.”

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact
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