Multi-Objective Optimization for UAV Swarm-Assisted IoT with Virtual Antenna Arrays

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) network is a promising technology for assisting Internet-of-Things (IoT), where a UAV can use its limited service coverage to harvest and disseminate data from IoT devices with low transmission abilities. The existing UAV-assisted data harvesting and dissemination schemes largely require UAVs to frequently fly between the IoTs and access points, resulting in extra energy and time costs. To reduce both energy and time costs, a key way is to enhance the transmission performance of IoT and UAVs. In this work, we introduce collaborative beamforming into IoTs and UAVs simultaneously to achieve energy and time-efficient data harvesting and dissemination from multiple IoT clusters to remote base stations (BSs). Except for reducing these costs, another non-ignorable threat lies in the existence of the potential eavesdroppers, whereas the handling of eavesdroppers often increases the energy and time costs, resulting in a conflict with the minimization of the costs. Moreover, the importance of these goals may vary relatively in different applications. Thus, we formulate a multi-objective optimization problem (MOP) to simultaneously minimize the mission completion time, signal strength towards the eavesdropper, and total energy cost of the UAVs. We prove that the formulated MOP is an NP-hard, mixed-variable optimization, and large-scale optimization problem. Thus, we propose a swarm intelligence-based algorithm to find a set of candidate solutions with different trade-offs which can meet various requirements in a low computational complexity. We also show that swarm intelligence methods need to enhance solution initialization, solution update, and algorithm parameter update phases when dealing with mixed-variable optimization and large-scale problems. Simulation results demonstrate the proposed algorithm outperforms state-of-the-art swarm intelligence algorithms.

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