UAV-RT: An SDR Based Aerial Platform for Wildlife Tracking

Amir Torabi, Michael W. Shafer, Gabriel S. Vega, Kellan M. Rothfus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations


Small airborne platforms can evolve autonomous wildlife tracking by efficiently collecting data over terrain that is difficult to access. This paper presents an unmanned aerial vehicle radio telemetry (UAV-RT) system that integrates VHF radio telemetry equipment with an unmanned aerial system. The system includes a modified hexacopter, an onboard computer, an SDR receiver, a directional antenna, and a ground control station (GCS) laptop. Preliminary experiments are conducted to demonstrate the capabilities of this system and localization accuracy of the system is quantified. Principal components analysis (PCA) and radiation pattern matching (RPM) are used for bearing estimation. Impact of flight altitude and polarization of the tag on system range are investigated. It is found that raising the antenna from the ground level to 122 m more than triples the reception distance of VHF signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2018 IEEE 88th Vehicular Technology Conference, VTC-Fall 2018 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781538663585
StatePublished - Jul 2 2018
Event88th IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, VTC-Fall 2018 - Chicago, United States
Duration: Aug 27 2018Aug 30 2018

Publication series

NameIEEE Vehicular Technology Conference
ISSN (Print)1550-2252


Conference88th IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, VTC-Fall 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Localization
  • Radio Direction Finding
  • Software-Defined Radio (SDR)
  • Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)
  • Wildlife Radio Tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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