6G Enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management: A Perspective

Rakesh Shrestha, Rojeena Bajracharya, Shiho Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and UAV traffic management (UTM) have drawn attention for applications such as parcel delivery, aerial mapping, agriculture, and surveillance based on line-of-sight (LoS) links. UTM is essential to operate multiple fully autonomous UAVs safely beyond the visual line of sight (BVLoS) in the future dense UAV traffic environment. Various research and development teams globally take UTM initiatives and work on platform testing with different industrial partners. In the future, urban airspace will be congested with various types of autonomous aerial vehicles, thereby resulting in complex air-traffic management caused by communication issues. The UTM requires an efficient communication backbone to handle all airborne communication services. Existing cellular networks are suitable only for terrestrial communication and have limitations in supporting aerial communications. These issues motivate the investigation of an appropriate communication technology for advanced UTM systems. Thus, in this study, we present a future perspective of 6G-enabled UTM ecosystems in a very dense and urban air-traffic scenario focusing on non-terrestrial features, including aerial and satellite communication. We also introduce several urban airspace segmentation and discuss a strategic management framework for dynamic airspace traffic management and conflict-free UAV operations. The UTM enhances the adaptive use of the airspace by shaping the airspace with the overall aim of maximizing the capability and efficiency of the network. We also discuss the 6G multi-layer parameters i.e., space, air, and terrestrial, for safe and efficient urban air transportation in three-dimensional space. Moreover, we discuss the issues and challenges faced by future UTM systems and provide tentative solutions. We subsequently extend the vision of the UTM system and design an advanced and fully autonomous 6G-based UTM system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9464266
Pages (from-to)91119-91136
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Technology Innovation Program through the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), South Korea, Alchemist developing smart off the ground mobility, under Project 20012377, and in part by the Institute of Information and Communications Technology Planning and Evaluation (IITP) grant through the Korea Government [Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT)], to create AI systems that act appropriately and effectively in novel situations that occur in open worlds, under Project 2020-0-00056.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 IEEE.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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