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The focus of the department Communications Systems is on aeronautical, car-to-car and train-to-train communications, on multisensor navigation, and swarm exploration. Most of these topics treat system aspects. We foster the development and standardization of LDACS, the future worldwide aeronautical communication standard for air traffic management. We enable accurate pedestrian indoor navigation based on multisensor fusion. We aim at exploring planets and supporting disaster management with autonomously and decentralized operating swarms of rovers and aerial platforms. To increase safety on rail and road we develop robust and reliable communications systems and methods for relative positioning. For many of these topics we need detailed knowledge of wave propagation; thus, we carry out channel measurement for various environments (ground-air, satellite-air, satellite-ground, ship-ship, ship-shore, train-train, car-car), develop accurate models and contribute to the standardization at ITU-R.
Aeronautical Communications Group
The Aeronautical Communications Group designs and evaluates digital wireless communications systems for civil aviation. These systems are designated for the following application areas: Air-Traffic Control (ATC), Air-Traffic Management (ATM), Airline Operational Control (AOC) as well as command and control of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and their integration into civil airspace. One core working area of the team is the design and validation of the future international aeronautical communications system LDACS (L-band Digital Aeronautical Communications System). LDACS has been developed in main parts at DLR and is foreseen for standardization within the next years. Being a high-performant, high-rate data link, LDACS enables modern ATM applications as currently being developed within the international ATM projects SESAR (Europe) and NextGen (US). The communications systems LDACS has the potential to be extended towards navigation and surveillance. The further development of LDACS towards an integrated CNS (Communications, Navigation, Surveillance) solution is another core working area of the team. Besides their work on ground-based communications with LDACS, the team also designs and evaluates concepts for direct communications between aircraft, i.e. Air-to-Air (A2A) communications. Together with the Satellite Networks Department, who is covering satellite-based communications to the aircraft, the networking of the different data link technologies into a heterogeneous, IP-based aeronautical internet is advanced. Linking the aircraft via different communications media to the infrastructure on ground enables new multilink and redundancy approaches. The Aeronautical Communications Group is actively working in different committees and boards, e.g. the Future Communications Infrastructure Task Force (FCI-TF) of Eurocontrol, the Communications Panel and the Navigation Systems Panel of ICAO. In the latter two, the team acts as advisor to DFS.
Vehicular Applications Group
The research interests of the Vehicular Applications Group lie in the area of novel systems that combine robust navigation, ad-hoc communications and information processing. We are addressing applications such as safety-of-life relevant cooperative assistance systems for vehicles and collision avoidance systems for vehicles and trains, dynamic coupling of trains, ubiquitous and context aware pedestrian navigation, and activity estimation of pedestrians. Our work is conducted at experimental, simulative and theoretical levels. Much of our activity in the areas of navigation is at the signal processing level with the goal of assessing and improving the performance of future navigation systems in challenging environmental scenarios such as heavy shadowing and multipath or under interference from other signal sources. Many of the problems we address can be formulated as estimation or decision problems and require a good understanding of underlying models, such as utilities, process and sensor models. We make a strong effort to validate our approaches in real world experiments and early prototypes.
Mobile Radio Transmission Group
The Mobile Radio Transmission Group covers terrestrial mobile radio communication systems. Research work focuses on the physical as well as the MAC layer. A further topic of the Group is the integration of Communication and Navigation, i.e., positioning using terrestrial mobile radio systems and exploitation of position information for communications.
Swarm Exploration Group
The main focus of the group is in the research and development of novel data processing algorithms for autonomous exploration of unknown or complex environments with mobile robotic platforms, e.g., quadrocopters or rovers. The algorithms address aspects of data processing that include decentralized methods for data acquisition and collaborative decision making, as well as advanced computational tools for in-network data analysis. Our vision is that intelligent swarm-based robotic systems will become primary tools for autonomous exploration of extraterrestrial environments, especially in cases when a direct control from Earth is compromised or delayed. Moreover, such intelligent systems might also become indispensable for situation awareness in emergencies or disaster control scenarios, when the access to infrastructure is limited or becomes unavailable.
Prof. Dr. Uwe-Carsten Fiebig
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Communications and Navigation
Tel.: +49 8153 28-2835
Fax: +49 8153 28 2676
Mobile Radio Transmission Group
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