A Comprehensive Overview on 5G-and-Beyond Networks with UAVs: From Communications to Sensing and Intelligence
Due to the advancements in cellular technologies and the dense deployment of cellular infrastructure, integrating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the fifth-generation (5G) and beyond cellular networks is a promising solution to achieve safe UAV operation as well as enabling diversified applications with mission-specific payload data delivery. In particular, 5G networks need to support three typical usage scenarios, namely, enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low-latency
... cations (URLLC), and massive machine-type communications (mMTC). On the one hand, UAVs can be leveraged as cost-effective aerial platforms to provide ground users with enhanced communication services by exploiting their high cruising altitude and controllable maneuverability in three-dimensional (3D) space. On the other hand, providing such communication services simultaneously for both UAV and ground users poses new challenges due to the need for ubiquitous 3D signal coverage as well as the strong air-ground network interference. Besides the requirement of high-performance wireless communications, the ability to support effective and efficient sensing as well as network intelligence is also essential for 5G-and-beyond 3D heterogeneous wireless networks with coexisting aerial and ground users. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest research efforts on integrating UAVs into cellular networks, with an emphasis on how to exploit advanced techniques (e.g., intelligent reflecting surface, short packet transmission, energy harvesting, joint communication and radar sensing, and edge intelligence) to meet the diversified service requirements of next-generation wireless systems. Moreover, we highlight important directions for further investigation in future work.