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Research and innovation

The Centre was very active in regional, national, and international partnerships and events during Y2. A separate Outreach Report (in preparation) will cover these events (including lessons learnt and benefits derived) in more detail, but the key highlights include:

  • The Centre hosted a 3-day international workshop on 17th – 19th October 2023, titled “AI for Space – Designing a Future Satellite Infrastructure for a Sustainable Earth”. The workshop was attended (on invitation only) by 43 participants drawn from 25 space sector organisations and businesses, including ESA, UKSA, JAXA, Fujitsu Japan, Nagoya Institute of Technology Japan, Satellite Applications Catapult, Fujitsu Europe, Airbus, Viasat, Astroscale, In-Space, BMT Defence and Security, Plastic-I, Decision Lab, etc.
  • In collaboration with ESA, the Centre organised and hosted a 3-day School on “AI in Satellite Systems” for early-stage career researchers and space industry practitioners on 24-26 October. Lecturers of the School included four members of the Centre’s core team and ten industry experts from UK and Europe). In addition to lectures on state-of-the-art application of AI, distributed computing, and federated learning in satellite systems, the school also featured a PocketQube satellite design workshop and a company visit to Filtronics.
  • In collaboration with the AIAA, the Centre organised and hosted the 40th ICSSC Colloquium on “Direct Satellite to Cellular Mobile Services” (23rd Oct.), and the 40th International Communications Satellite Systems Conference (ICSSC, 24th – 26th Oct.). Both events were attended by NASA, ESA, JAXA, other national space agencies, and many leading corporations in the space sector. It is noteworthy that ICSSC is widely regarded as the premier technical conference on the subject and this year’s Bradford event was the first time in its long history since 1966 that it was held in England.
A person in a labcoat and clipboard inspecting a satellite.

Selected past projects


COMET (Future Cockpit Network Communications Environment Testing) 

Investigators: Fun Hu, Muhammad Ali, Jian-Ping Li 

This 54 month over 6M€ EU H2020 Cleansky2 project aims to design, develop and validate a next generation aeronautical data link communication system, utilising the Software Defined Networking (SDN) concept for multi-link selection, mobility support and network management. The University of Bradford leads the design of an aircraft communications system, a hybrid SDN-based ground aeronautical teleommunication network as well as the development of an open-source testbed to implement, demonstrate and validate an AI-based multi-link selecton algorithm and network management functions in this project.

ROBUST

Investigators: Raed Abd-Alhameed, John Buckley, Rami Qahwaji, Maryann Hardy

This project, funded under the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie, Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) programme aims to develop a new concept and platform for remote monitoring of healing process in the field of e-Health applications. Using recent advances in sensor and measurement technologies, being investigated at partners of the project, an integrated mobile e-Health system will be developed, that is able to respond in real-time to dynamic and complex situations, while preserving control, safety, privacy, reliability and energy efficiency. The ROBUST system will include a fast feedback loop that dynamically uses sensor information to create instructions to patients, which include cognitive and learning capabilities. ROBUST is committed to create an excellent network, that is multi-disciplinary and intersectoral in nature, for staff exchange in the field of mobile eHealth, and more specifically targeting structure training and knowledge sharing towards enhancing European innovation capacity in the eHealth sector.

SINAPSE (Software Defined Networking Architecture augmented with AI to improve Aeronautical Communications Performance, Security and Efficiency)

Investigators: Fun Hu, Muhammad Ali, Jian-Ping Li 

This 24-month over 853k€ project funded under EU H2020 SESAR programme aims at accelerating the transformation of avionic communications networks towards an intelligent and secured aeronautical datalink communications network architecture design based on the Software Defined Networking (SDN) architecture model augmented with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict and prevent safety services outages, to optimize available network resources and to implement cybersecurity functions protecting the network against digital attacks. The University of Bradford leads the Cyber Security workpackage of this project to define an AI-based cyber security framework, utilising federated learning and open source security data to train ML algorithm for cyber security detection.   

Frequency Selectivity in Phase-only Beamformed User Terminal 

Investigators: Raed Abd-Alhameed, Fun Hu

This project funded under the ESA SatNex V programme investigated the effect of beam squinting in direct radiating array antennas for use in DVB-S2x system, consdered over various uniform linear arrays (ULA) and uniform planer arrays (UPA) of different sizes. To compensate for the distortion caused by the gain frequency response (i.e. squinting effects), two equalizers were implemented: zero-forcing (ZF) and minimum mean square error (MMSE).  

eBorder (Secure and Wireless Multimodal Biometric Scanning Device for Passenger Verification Targeting Land and Sea Border Control) 

Investigators: Raed Abd-Alhameed, Rami Qahwaji, Irfan Awan

This project, funded under the EU H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) programme aims to improve security through more efficient external border controls between Schengen states using biometric data in conjunction with Visa Information systems as specified in the Schengen Border Code. The project will develop a secure and wireless multimodal biometric scanning device for passenger verification targeting land and sea border control applications. Bradford will play a major role in developing new AI and cybersecurity technologies and operational parameters of land/sea border security systems to improve the verification accuracy, security level, coverage area and signalling and will lead on the development of new testbed, optimization and validation mechanisms, in collaboration with Exploit AC (Germany).

SECRET (SEcure Network Coding for Reduced Energy nexT generation Mobile Small cells)

Investigators: Raed Abd-Alhameed, Steve Jones, Jim Noras, Rami Qahwaji 

This project funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks is committed to create an `excellent’ educational training platform for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the field of wireless communications and networking; The project aims to narrow the gap between current networking technologies and the foreseen requirements of future 5G and 5G+ networking, to deliver higher networking capacity, ability to support more users, lower cost per bit, enhanced energy efficiency, and finally adaptability to the new nature of services and devices (such as the support of IoT), while ensuring SECURED connectivity.

Mobile and Wireless Tracking Systems

Investigators: Raed Abd-Alhameed, Steve Jones, Jim Noras 

This Innovate-UK KTP project with Datong plc (formerly 7technologies plc) looked at ways to optimise Datong's tracking systems by implementing antenna arrays and advanced digital signal processing techniques that are more cost-effective, more reliable and provide better radio coverage and reduce the risk of operations in hostile circumstances.  

MIMO Antenna Design for Dual Band Sky Receivers

Investigators: Raed Abd-Alhameed, Steve Jones

This Innovate UK KTP project with Arris plc was created to design and develop a MIMO antenna system as a part of Arris plc's business strategy to establish itself as a frontrunner in the development of new home networking technologies and to create short-range wireless communication systems that made use of the 802.11n standard that mandates the use of a MIMO antenna system for transmission.

SITARA (Smart Grids to harness Satellite based Virtual Power Plants for Energy Sustainability) 

Investigators: Prashant Pillai, Haile Rajmani, Fun Hu  

This Bradford-led 24-month British Council funded project was conducted in collaboration with the North Carolina State University (US) and Indian Institute of Technology Madras (India) aims to accelerate smart grid technologies through the use of satellite communications and intelligent control concepts to migrate power outages in growing urban cities. The ultimate goal is to enable improve the reliability and efficiency of energy transmission, distribution and consumption by encouraging integration of more renewable energy sources to minimise unnecessary need for new power plants.

HARNet (Harmonised Antenna, Radio and Networks) 

Investigators: Fun Hu, Prashant Pillai 

This 21-month over £6M project funded by Innovate UK aimed to define and implement state-of-the-art aeronautical communications technologies for air traffic management with a view to prepare routes for product commercialisation. The University of Bradford was responsible for developing an automated testing system for the aircraft communication system.

SINCBAC (Secure Integrated Network Communications for Broadband and ATM Connectivity) 

Investigators: Fun Hu, Pauline Chan, Prashant Pillai

This 24-month over £2M project was funded by Innovate UK.  SINCBAC conducted an in-depth study in secure routing with a vision to design a next generation on-board aeronautical communication architecture for air-to-ground communication that is commercially exploitable. The University of Bradford was responsible for defining, developing and implementing the communication manager in the aircraft communication system, and investigated cyber security risks to the system as well as developed countermeasures to mitigate such risks.  

SANDRA (Seamless Aeronautical Network through Integration of Data Links, Radio and Antennas) 

Investigators: Fun Hu, Pauline Chan

This 48-month over €23M project, funded by the European Commission under the FP7 Aeronautic and Transport programme aims to design, implement and validate through in-flight trials an integrated aeronautical communications system based on an open architecture, a common set of interfaces and on well-proven industry standards. The University of Bradford led the radio resource management of the software defined radio tasks and contributed to mobility management, middleware and network management activities. In addition, the Bradford team played a key role in developing the SANDRA testbed in the design and development of the link selection algorithm and software to demonstrate real-time call handover  in the SANDRA flight trial, which the Bradford team also participated.

Inmarsat BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) 

Investigators: Fun Hu, Pauline Chan

This project funded by the European Space Agency and Inmarsat spanned over a 3-year period to investigate technologies to support new multicast service requirements and the development of a prototype system to operate on the bench to validate the service concepts and system design. Bradford’s involvement concentrated on the design, implementation, validation and integration of a real-time RRM signalling framework into the prototype system.

SatNEx (Satellite Network of Excellence/Expert) 

Investigators: Fun Hu, Ray Sheriff

SatNEx was originally funded by the European Commission in 2004 and later by the European Space Agency. The primary goal of SatNEx is to achieve long-lasting integration of European research in satellite communications and to develop a common knowledge base. Through co-operation of excellent universities and research organisations with outstanding expertise in satellite communications, SatNEx established a European virtual centre of excellence in satellite communications and contribute to the realisation of the European Research Area. The University of Bradford was one of three founding members of SatNEx.

WirelessCabin (Development and demonstrator for wireless access for multimedia services in aircraft cabins) 

Investigators: Fun Hu, Pauline Chan

This 30-month, over €3 million flagship EU project was performed by 9 organisations from 4 European countries. Bradford is the only academic institution involved in the project. It aimed to provide airline passengers with direct access to business class quality Internet services via their own communication devices through state-of-the-art wireless access technologies including UMTS, Bluetooth and WLAN. Communication with the outside world was achieved through a satellite for interconnection with terrestrial telecommunication networks. The University of Bradford led the protocol architecture design workpackage and an authentication, authorisation and accounting (AAA) framework and mechanism, as well as defined, developed the testbed of and participated in the flight trial.

SUITED (Multisegment ystem for broadband ubquitous access to Internet services and demonstrator) 

Investigators: Ray Sheriff, Fun Hu

This 30-month, over €9 million project funded by the European Commission addressed the integration of satellite-terrestrial networks for the support of mobile IP services. SUITED addresses inter-working issues between satellite (Ka-band) and terrestrial mobile networks (GPRS, UMTS, W-LAN). Its main goal was to contribute to the formation of the European Information Infrastructure (EII) through the design and validation of a Global Mobile Broadband System (GMBS) to support mobile/portable, QoS guaranteed IP services. The University 

Network Configuration Study for Geo-Mobile Applications

Investigators: Ray Sheriff, Fun Hu

This feasibility study funded by the Indian Space Research Organisation considered the effects of geostationary satellite payload complexity on mobile service delivery. The study investigated the inter-working scenarios for satellite-terrestrial mobile network integration, using GSM/GPRS as the reference network architecture. The network architecture, functionalities and protocols in conjunction with the GMR specifications were defined. Preliminary network performance was analysis for each integration scenario.

ABATE (ACTS broadband aeronautical terminal experiment) 

Investigators: Ray Sheriff, Fun Hu

ABATE was funded under by the European Commission, focusing on aeronautical satellite communication system design for broadband connectivity. The project investigated on aeronautical satellite network planning issues and completed with a technology demonstration for aeronautical satellite communication at K and Ka bands, which provided a firm basis for further industrial developments in this area. In-flight multimedia service demonstrations were carried out and validated the feasibility for an AirCom satellite system operating at these frequencies.