StratoTrans: Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) 4G Communication Framework Applied on the Monitoring of Road Traffic and Linear Infrastructure

Robert Guirado, Joan-Cristian Padró, Albert Zoroa, José Olivert, Anica Bukva, Pedro Cavestany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study provides an operational solution to directly connect drones to internet by means of 4G telecommunications and exploit drone acquired data, including telemetry and imagery but focusing on video transmission. The novelty of this work is the application of 4G connection to link the drone directly to a data server where video (in this case to monitor road traffic) and imagery (in the case of linear infrastructures) are processed. However, this framework is appliable to any other monitoring purpose where the goal is to send real-time video or imagery to the headquarters where the drone data is processed, analyzed, and exploited. We describe a general framework and analyze some key points, such as the hardware to use, the data stream, and the network coverage, but also the complete resulting implementation of the applied unmanned aerial system (UAS) communication system through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) featuring a long-range telemetry high-capacity video link (up to 15 Mbps, 720 p video at 30 fps with 250 ms of latency). The application results in the real-time exploitation of the video, obtaining key information for traffic managers such as vehicle tracking, vehicle classification, speed estimation, and roundabout in-out matrices. The imagery downloads and storage is also performed thorough internet, although the Structure from Motion postprocessing is not real-time due to photogrammetric workflows. In conclusion, we describe a real-case application of drone connection to internet thorough 4G network, but it can be adapted to other applications. Although 5G will-in time-surpass 4G capacities, the described framework can enhance drone performance and facilitate paths for upgrading the connection of on-board devices to the 5G network.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021


  • 4G/LTE
  • Computer vision
  • Drones
  • Real-time video
  • Traffic monitoring
  • UAS
  • VPN


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