MIMO Antennas for UAV & UGV

MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antennas are innovative communication systems that utilize multiple antennas for simultaneously receiving and transmitting data, enhancing efficiency and reliability in communications spectrums. In autonomous and unmanned applications, MIMO antennas perform a vital role in providing high-speed data transmission, accurate positioning, and reliable connectivity for robotic systems, drones, and autonomous vehicles, pivotal for flawless operation, coordination, and navigation in challenging and constantly changing environments.
Overview MIMO Antennas for UAV & UGV
By Mike Ball Last updated: May 29th, 2024

MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) is a form of wireless radio technology that utilizes multiple antennas at both the transmit and receive ends of the communications link. This method takes advantage of multipath propagation, and provides a number of advantages for UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and robotics communications, including increased throughput and enhanced signal quality and reliability.

Drone MIMO antennas are installed both on the vehicle itself and on the GCS (ground control station).

UAV MIMO antennas may be used for a variety of wireless communications, including Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G LTE, and other RF links. They may be single-band antennas, or dual-band to enhance coverage and performance. They can also be used to enable MANET (Mobile Ad-Hoc Networking) capabilities, where multiple drones and unmanned vehicles can form a self-organizing and self-healing network that can span over wide areas.

MIMO Antenna Configurations

Multi-Port MIMO / MANET Directional Sector Antennas by Southwest Antennas

Multi-Port MIMO / MANET Directional Sector Antennas by Southwest Antennas

Drone MIMO antennas can be arranged in a number of configurations, where the number of antennas at the transmitter must equal the number at the receiver. Common MIMO antenna configurations include 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 and 8×8.

MIMO antenna systems may use multiple omnidirectional antennas, including linearly or circularly polarized antennas. Polarization types must be equally matched at the transmit and receive ends in order to ensure maximum gain, range and signal quality. They may also use directional antennas such as sector or panel antennas.

Radome MIMO Antenna Technology

In addition to multiple single antennas, MIMO antennas can be provided as an all-in-one product with all antennas housed inside a single radome with multiple RF connectors. The antennas are typically offset at 90 degrees from each other within the radome in order to enhance polarization diversity.

MIMO antenna radomes also provide enhanced impact protection, and may be designed with ingress protection against moisture, dust and salt spray, as well as resistance against UV radiation and extremes of temperature.