Case study

LoRa Communication Module for Drones

Lora is one of the most promising IoT technologies that deliver communication for areas where availability of power grid is limited or it doesn’t exist. Thaumatec had the pleasure to work with students to develop a project for research purposes and to create better results for a drone company.

The vision

Many of us are familiar with Lora Technology, especially since its getting so much attention due to its low-power, long-range operation, and relatively low cost and complexity to deploy the private network, where needed. Thaumatec had the pleasure to work with students from the local university of Wroclaw to develop a project for research purposes and to create better results for a company known for building drones, BZBUAS. Find out how we helped to develop a LoRa-based communication module for drones!

UAV for telemetry, transmission and tracking

The goal of the project was to design a communication module dedicated to the integration with UAV for telemetry transmission and tracking. The ideal solution was to include a PoC on-board device, a device for receiving and transmitting commands and heartbeat (LoRa modems can be considered). The on-board device needed to be powered from on-board battery, use low-power LoRa transceiver and communicate with other on-board equipment for data collection and transmission. The device should be as much inter-operable as possible with solutions used nowadays mainly GSM and RF (radio frequency) modems.

Why LoRa?

Lora is one of the promising IoT technologies that deliver communication for areas where availability of power grid is limited or it doesn’t exist. Most of the world by now, is also familiar with drones or aerial vehicles (UAV), that operate wherever possible. We had the feeling that due to the needs of reducing the drone weight (smaller battery), possibly long range of the network and low-power consumption of LoRa devices, those things (drone & LoRa) are meant to be together!

What is UAV?

UAV – unmanned aerial vehicle, is a flying machine for which is not necessary to have any human pilot onboard, it’s also impossible to carry passengers and it’s controlled manually from the ground or it’s flying by automatically planed route. It’s also the most important part of UAS – unmanned aerial system, which includes also controlling system, software, pilot or for example exchangable „cargo” for a specificic task.

Where UAVs can be used?

The possibilites of UAV’s are almost endless. UAV is a cost effective solution for everyone interested in different pictures made from high attitude – ortophotomaps, thermo maps etc. It can also be used to monitor wide area teritorries – like crops, farms, forests, boarders of different countries. The drone can be also a very useful tool for security systems – during mass events or search and rescue actions. It’s can be also used in military systems. Google together with their company Solar 60, are planning to create a chain of solar-powered drones, constantly flying 20km over the ground and delivering internet connections to the low-developed areas of the world.

The project

The project was realized with the support of two companies and engineer students. BZBUAS was one of the companies that are prestigious in its area and highly skilled in building drones, the other is Thaumatec an IT company with strong expertise on Lora Technology. The merge between the companies and the students led to great research development. Thaumatec gave students the opportunity to work directly with clients and dive deeply into the world of embedded systems. Thaumatec hopes to keep on building projects accompanied by experts and researchers in different fields for bigger developments and discoveries, after all “we make the future matter and connect it to you”- Thaumatec’s slogan.

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