The 6th generation (6G) wireless communication network is envisaged to be able to change our lives drastically, including transportation. In this paper, two ways of interactions between 6G communication networks and transportation are introduced. With the new usage scenarios and capabilities 6G is going to support, passengers on all sorts of transportation systems will be able to get data more easily, even in the most remote areas on the planet. The quality of communication will also be improved significantly, thanks to the advanced capabilities of 6G. On top of providing seamless and ubiquitous connectivity to all forms of transportation, 6G will also transform the transportation systems to make them more intelligent, more efficient, and safer. Based on the latest research and standardization progresses, technical analysis on how 6G can empower advanced transportation systems are provided, as well as challenges and insights for a possible road ahead.
Ultra-high-resolution target sensing has emerged as a key enabler for various cutting-edge applications, which can be realized by utilizing the millimeter wave/terahertz frequencies. However, the extremely high operating frequency inevitably leads to significant Doppler shift effects, especially for high-mobility applications, causing the degradation of sensing performance with high false alarm rate. To this end, this paper proposes a parameter design methodology of the well-known constant amplitude zero auto correlation (CAZAC) sequences, which aims at enhancing their resilience to Doppler shifts. Specifically, we suppress the sidelobes incurred by Doppler shifts for the peak-to-sidelobe ratio (PSLR) improvement within the range of interest (RoI) of the radar range profile. The Zadoff-Chu (ZC) sequence, as a representative member in the CAZAC family, is firstly considered. The impacts of its root index on range sidelobes are investigated based on number theory. For an arbitrary-length ZC sequence, a feasible range of the root index is derived to satisfy the requirement of PSLR within the scope of RoI. Furthermore, these design guidelines are extended to a general form of CAZAC sequences, where a low-complexity heuristic algorithm is developed for PSLR improvement. Simulation results demonstrate that under severe Doppler shifts, our proposed methodology could enhance the sensing performance by lowering the false alarm rate while maintaining the same detection rate, compared with its classical counterpart.
Facilitated by rapid technological development of the near-space platform stations (NSPS), near-space communication (NS-COM) is envisioned to play a pivotal role in the space-air-ground integrated network for sixth-generation (6G) communications and beyond. In NS-COM, ultra-broadband wireless connectivity between NSPSs and various airborne/spaceborne platforms is required for a plethora of bandwidth-consuming applications, such as NSPS-based Ad hoc networking, in-flight Internet and relaying technology. However, such requirement seems to contradict with the scarcity of spectrum resources at conventional microwave frequencies, which motivates the exploitation of terahertz (THz) band ranging from 0.1 to 10 THz. Due to huge available bandwidth, the THz signals are capable of supporting ultra-high-rate data transmission for NS-COM over 100 Gb/s, which are naturally suitable for the near-space environment with marginal path loss. To this end, this article provides an extensive investigation on the THz-band NS-COM (THz-NS-COM) from a physical-layer perspective. Firstly, we summarize the potential applications of THz communications in the near-space environment, where the corresponding technical barriers are analyzed. Then the channel characteristics of THz-NS-COM and the corresponding modeling strategies are discussed, respectively. Afterwards, three essential research directions are investigated to surpass the technical barriers of THz-NS-COM, i.e., robust beamforming for ultra-massive antenna array, signal processing algorithms against hybrid distortions, and integrated sensing and communications. Several open problems are also provided to unleash the full potential of THz-NS-COM.
With the rapid development of satellite communication technologies, the space-based access network has been envisioned as a promising complementary part of the future 6G network. Aside from terrestrial base stations, satellite nodes, especially the low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites, can also serve as base stations for Internet access, and constitute the LEO-satellite-based access network (LEO-SAN). LEO-SAN is expected to provide seamless massive access and extended coverage with high signal quality. However, its practical implementation still faces significant technical challenges, e.g., high mobility and limited budget for communication payloads of LEO satellite nodes. This paper aims at revealing the main technical issues that have not been fully addressed by the existing LEO-SAN designs, from three aspects namely random access, beam management and Doppler-resistant transmission technologies. More specifically, the critical issues of random access in LEO-SAN are discussed regarding low flexibility, long transmission delay, and inefficient handshakes. Then the beam management for LEO-SAN is investigated in complex propagation environments under the constraints of high mobility and limited payload budget. Furthermore, the influence of Doppler shifts on LEO-SAN is explored. Correspondingly, promising technologies to address these challenges are also discussed, respectively. Finally, the future research directions are envisioned.
Precipitated by the technological innovations of the near-space platform stations (NSPS), the near space communication (NS-COM) network has emerged as an indispensable part of the next-generation space-air-ground integrated network (SAGIN) that facilitates ubiquitous coverage and broadband data transfer. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of NS-COM. Firstly, we investigate the differences between NS-COM and the existing terrestrial cellular networks as well as satellite-based and unmanned-aerial-vehicle (UAV)-based communication networks, which is followed by a review of the NS-COM development. Then, we explore the unique characteristics of NS-COM regarding the platforms and the propagation environment of the near space. The main issues of NS-COM are identified, resulted from the extremely long transmission distance, limitations of the communication payloads on NSPS and complex atmospheric constitution of the near space. Then various application scenarios of NS-COM are discussed, where the special technical requirements are also revealed, from the physical-layer aspect like transceiver design to the upper-layer aspect like computational offloading and NSPS placement. Furthermore, we investigate the co-existence of NS-COM and ground networks by treating each other as interferers or collaborators. Finally, we list several potential technologies for NS-COM from the perspective of spectrum usage, and highlight their technical challenges for future research.
Terahertz (THz) wireless communication is envisioned as a promising technology, which is capable of providing ultra-high-rate transmission up to Terabit per second. However, some hardware imperfections, which are generally neglected in the existing literature concerning lower data rates and traditional operating frequencies, cannot be overlooked in the THz systems. Hardware imperfections usually consist of phase noise, in-phase/quadrature imbalance, and nonlinearity of power amplifier. Due to the time-variant characteristic of phase noise, frequent pilot insertion is required, leading to decreased spectral efficiency. In this paper, to address this issue, a novel pilot design strategy is proposed based on index modulation (IM), where the positions of pilots are flexibly changed in the data frame, and additional information bits can be conveyed by indices of pilots. Furthermore, a turbo receiving algorithm is developed, which jointly performs the detection of pilot indices and channel estimation in an iterative manner. It is shown that the proposed turbo receiver works well even under the situation where the prior knowledge of channel state information is outdated. Analytical and simulation results validate that the proposed schemes achieve significant enhancement of bit-error rate performance and channel estimation accuracy, whilst attaining higher spectral efficiency in comparison with its classical counterpart.
The convergence of radar sensing and communication applications in the terahertz (THz) band has been envisioned as a promising technology, since it incorporates terabit-per-second (Tbps) data transmission and mm-level radar sensing in a spectrum- and cost-efficient manner, by sharing both the frequency and hardware resources. However, the joint THz radar and communication (JRC) system faces considerable challenges, due to the peculiarities of the THz channel and front ends. To this end, the waveform design for THz-JRC systems with ultra-broad bandwidth is investigated in this paper. Firstly, by considering THz-JRC systems based on the co-existence concept, where both functions operate in a time-domain duplex (TDD) manner, a novel multi-subband quasi-perfect (MS-QP) sequence, composed of multiple Zadoff-Chu (ZC) perfect subsequences on different subbands, is proposed for target sensing, which achieves accurate target ranging and velocity estimation, whilst only requiring cost-efficient low-rate analog-to-digital converters (A/Ds) for sequence detection. Furthermore, the root index of each ZC subsequence of the MS-QP sequence is designed to eliminate the influence of doppler shift on the THz radar sensing. Finally, a data-embedded MS-QP (DE-MS-QP) waveform is constructed through time-domain extension of the MS-QP sequence, generating null frequency points on each subband for data transmission. Unlike the THz-JRC system in TDD manner, the proposed DE-MS-QP waveform enables simultaneous interference-free sensing and communication, whilst inheriting all the merits from MS-QP sequences. Numerical results validate the superiority of the proposed waveforms in terms of sensing performance, hardware cost and flexible resource allocation over their conventional counterparts.