A Novel Flying Ad Hoc Network Simulator with Automatic Code Generation for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (AVENS)

AVENS is part of a major research project concerning the provision of a test bed to simulate UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) flight and control, using different, controlled and changeable configurations. The main intention of AVENS is to provide a simulation test bed for virtual experiments of network coverage and connectivity among UAVs flying in cooperation or sharing the same airspace.

The purpose of AVENS is to offer a platform for mobile ad hoc networks analysis where UAVs are mobile nodes sharing the wireless medium for exchanging messages. The goal is to use a flight simulator for controlling the aerial vehicles and a network simulator for obtaining network measurements such as transmission rate, goodput, RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication), throughput, package loss, number of retransmission etc.

The two base simulation platforms selected for integration are the XPlane Flight Simulator and the OMNeT++ Network Simulator, which is integrated with LARISSA (Portuguese only) in AVENS. In short, LARISSA provides a reliable and easy way to generate automatic code for OMNeT++ from an abstract UAV modeling.

The following figure describes how AVENS works.

AVENS provides more accuracy and reliability for the simulation by retrieving mobility model information from X-Plane's navigation pattern and updating UAVs positions on OMNeT++. OMNeT++ is used to simulate the network conditions when the nodes are moving based on positions generated by X-Plane. At the current version, this mobility model does not consider node connectivity when determining node's position. In future releases, a mobility model that governs the UAVs flight based on the network connectivity will be available for simulation. Such approaches allow the modelling and development of more realistic protocols and mobility models for FANETs (Flying Ad hoc NETworks). 

The integration between simulators is implemented by a plug-in on X-Plane side and a module on OMNeT++ side, both of them responsible for exchanging information through an XML file. The following video shows AVENS working.




More details on how to set up and run simulations on AVENS are available in the following publication:

Marconato, E. A., Rodrigues, M., Pires, R. M., Pigatto, D. F., Filho, L. C. Q., Pinto, A. S. R., & Branco, K. R. L. J. C. AVENS – A Novel Flying Ad Hoc Network Simulator with Automatic Code Generation for Unmanned Aircraft System. In The Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), 2017.



AVENS source code is available on GitHub.