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Energy-aware placement optimization of UAV base stations via decentralized multi-agent Q-learning

by   Babatunji Omoniwa, et al.

Unmanned aerial vehicles serving as aerial base stations (UAV-BSs) can be deployed to provide wireless connectivity to ground devices in events of increased network demand, points-of-failure in existing infrastructure, or disasters. However, it is challenging to conserve the energy of UAVs during prolonged coverage tasks, considering their limited on-board battery capacity. Reinforcement learning-based (RL) approaches have been previously used to improve energy utilization of multiple UAVs, however, a central cloud controller is assumed to have complete knowledge of the end-devices' locations, i.e., the controller periodically scans and sends updates for UAV decision-making. This assumption is impractical in dynamic network environments with mobile ground devices. To address this problem, we propose a decentralized Q-learning approach, where each UAV-BS is equipped with an autonomous agent that maximizes the connectivity to ground devices while improving its energy utilization. Experimental results show that the proposed design significantly outperforms the centralized approaches in jointly maximizing the number of connected ground devices and the energy utilization of the UAV-BSs.


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