Unmanned Aerial System-Based Data Ferrying over a Sensor Node Station Network in Maize

Jasreman Singh, Yufeng Ge, Derek M. Heeren, Elizabeth Walter-Shea, Christopher M.U. Neale, Suat Irmak, Mitchell S. Maguire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agriculture is considered a hotspot for wireless sensor network (WSN) facilities as they could potentially contribute towards improving on-farm management and food crop yields. This study proposes six designs of unmanned aerial system (UAS)-enabled data ferries with the intent of communicating with stationary sensor node stations in maize. Based on selection criteria and constraints, a proposed UAS data ferrying design was shortlisted from which a field experiment was conducted for two growing seasons to investigate the adoptability of the selected design along with an established WSN system. A data ferry platform comprised of a transceiver radio, a mini-laptop, and a battery was constructed and mounted on the UAS. Real-time monitoring of soil and temperature parameters was enabled through the node stations with data retrieved by the UAS data ferrying. The design was validated by establishing communication at different heights (31 m, 61 m, and 122 m) and lateral distances (0 m, 38 m, and 76 m) from the node stations. The communication success rate (CSR) was higher at a height of 31 m and within a lateral distance of 38 m from the node station. Lower communication was accredited to potential interference from the maize canopy and water losses from the maize canopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1863
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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