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MObility and Training fOR beyond 5G Ecosystems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MOTOR5G (MObility and Training fOR beyond 5G Ecosystems)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-10-31

The main objective of MOTOR5G is to motivate and skill competitive young researchers through involvement and engagement in a variety of research activities enabling them to work on real-life technical issues, across multiple European countries and organizations, and providing a strong networking opportunity through participation as speakers in conference and workshop events and through engagement with industry and other stakeholders (e.g. standardization). The research focus is on embedding artificial intelligence into 5G communication systems paving the way towards safe and reliable next-generation wireless ecosystems. 15 early-stage researchers (ESRs) supervised by committed experts will design and develop technologies and concepts related to the use of drone-based technology for enhanced multi-antenna and data forwarding techniques, use of artificial intelligence for novel adaptive digital beamforming techniques applied on realistic antenna arrays; communications in the mm-wave bands, blockchain-based approach to spectrum management and sharing, use of machine learning for enhanced quality of experience, and would in parallel focus on novel business models to sustain profitable operation of beyond 5G ecosystems.
The project MOTOR5G was kicked-off on December 10-11/12/ 2019 with a two-days meeting held in Brussels, Belgium and attended by all Beneficiaries. The taken action prepared the consortium to move forward towards the definition and signing of a Consortium Agreement detailed and (submitted as D8.1 on 09/06/2020), nominate and elect a Supervisory Board (SB) and an Executive and Recruitment Board (ERB) (detailed and submitted as D8.2 on 05/03/2020 and D8.3 on 21/02/2021). It should be mentioned that the Beneficiary Representatives for both are the same individuals.
The project launched a website and established communication and knowledge management procedures, as well as procedures for the project management and recruitment. These have been described in the respective deliverables D7.1 Project website (submitted on 03/11/2019); D7.2 Communication and Dissemination plan, submitted on 04/02/2020 and D7.3 IPR Directory 1 submitted on 14/02/2021). Further, the project submitted a confirmation that any agreement or use of the results of MOTOR5G (a whole or its part) will define exclusive use on civil application as a deliverable D9.1 DU-Requirement 1, as well as D10.1 Data Management Plan, a formal document that outlines how data are to be handled, both, during the project, and after the project is completed.
1. Advances in the state of the art of antenna array beamforming:
This research is still in an initial stage but the project has performed a comparative study on antenna array BF implementation based on four different deep NN (DNN) topologies, while the NN training is performed by considering a realistic linear antenna array composed 16 microstrip patches. This research will assure the importance of the deep learning application in the beamforming field in terms of accuracy and time response. The first results of this research will be submitted as the first announcement in an international conference by the end of January 2022.
2. Advances in the state of the art of antenna design for UAVs:
The project has developed own antenna designs using metamaterials and identified design challenges that demand further research and development efforts. An antenna platform for direction finding has been designed as an ideal candidate for modern, UAV-borne communication and direction finding platforms (see Figure 1). Further, a 2D End-fire Metamaterial Antenna Array for UAV-borne Radar has been designed. The project has achieved the design of an antenna that is suitable for airborne applications such as a UAV-borne radar. As UAVs penetrate into the global market and are used for various applications, our study is one of the first that proposes suitable antenna platform for this purpose. ii) The project addressed Isolation enhancement in 2D, end-fire antenna arrays with a large number of elements, which is an open research topic as the number of antenna elements per device is increasing and isolation is necessary for maintaining good performance. In particular, the decoupling of large-scale, end-fire arrays elements was not explored previously in the literature and has been addressed by the project with the help of metamaterials. The elements are shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3. Further, a Series-fed Antenna with integrated Phase Shifters for UAV-borne Radar was designed. The proposed configuration reduces the cost and size associated with the large number of amplifiers and circuit boards that are required for electronic beamsteering in conventional architectures and paves the way towards green and energy efficient communications. The project designed a new electrically small antenna that does not require a feed line as it can be edge coupled to the main transmission line. In this way, the amplitude distribution of the array can be manipulated by finding the optimum distance of the metamaterial antennas from the main transmission line. The antenna board is shown in Figure 4. Finally, the project designed a printed circuit board (PCB) for X-band radar analog beamsteering. With the number of connected devices per human increasing rapidly, the demand for directed communication goes beyond conventional fixed-beam antennas. Although, the theoretical principles of beemsteering methods are well-known and have been thoroughly examined, their practical implementation poses several challenges such as increased cost, complexity and several performance considerations and trade-offs (i.e. Noise figure, channel imbalances, real-time operation, angular coverage and resolution). Since analog beamsteering is envisioned to be utilized for the developed UAV-borne radar, a printed circuit board that has this functionality was designed.
The designed PCB offers state-of-the-art analog beamsteering by combining the received signals of eight antenna elements. The use of analog controlled (continuous) phase shifters instead of digitally controlled (discrete) ones allows for infinite angular resolution while using a single digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with one digital input and eight analog outputs that controls all the phase shifters. In this manner, the control signals are transferred to the phase shifters in a synchronous way. As a result, the beam points always towards the desired direction without any delay since all the phase shifters are updated simultaneously instead of sequentially. In parallel, the insertion loss of the phase shifters remains somewhat constant and hence potential channel imbalances are eliminated. A low-loss microstrip combiner adds coherently the phase-shifted signals. Since this combiner was designed by us, the cost is considerably reduced compared to the case where a commercial combiner was utilized. An illustration of the PCB is shown in Figure 5 and Figure 6.

2. Advances in the state of the art of Quality of Experience (QoE):
The project has designed a complete hands-on guide on multimedia services QoE assessment, which includes a comprehensive analysis of the specific QoE metrics and influencing factors for video streaming, extended reality and video gaming applications with a a thorough application-oriented comparative analysis that focuses in particular on video streaming, extended reality and video gaming applications.