Providing field coverage is a key task in many sensor network applications. With unevenly distributed static sensors, quality coverage with acceptable network lifetime is often difficult to achieve. Fortunately, recent advances on embedded and robotic systems make mobile sensors possible, and we suggest that a small set of mobile sensors can be leveraged toward a cost-effective solution for field coverage. There are, however, a series of fundamental questions to be answered in such a hybrid network of static and mobile sensors: (1) Given the expected coverage quality and system lifetime, how many mobile sensors should be deployed? (2) What are the necessary coverage contributions from each type of sensors? (3) What working and moving patterns should the sensors adopt to achieve the desired coverage contributions? In this article, we offer an analytical study on these problems, and the results lead to a practical system design. Specifically, we present an optimal algorithm for calculating the contributions from different types of sensors, which fully exploits the potentials of the mobile sensors and maximizes the network lifetime. We then present a random walk model for the mobile sensors. The model is distributed with very low control overhead. Its parameters can be fine-tuned to match the moving capability of different mobile sensors and the demands from a broad spectrum of applications. A node collaboration scheme is then introduced to further enhance the system performance. We demonstrate through analysis and simulation that, in our mobile assisted design, a small set of mobile sensors can effectively address the uneven distribution of the static sensors and significantly improve the coverage quality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Networks and Communications