A Dilemma in the Communication of a UAV with Its Controller

Andrey Garnaev, Wade Trappe, Athina Petropulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper, we investigate a dilemma of employing silent mode and communication mode by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in communication with its controller. In many applications, a UAV communicates with a controller to receive instructions or accurate positioning, but such active communication poses a threat that the UAV can be hijacked through spoofing. On the other hand, during a silent mode (when the UAV does not communicate with the controller), the UAV is safe from spoofing, but is not receiving updates or other important data, and can degrade the overall UAV mission. To gain insight into the UAV risk versus benefit tradeoff, a simple game-theoretic model is presented. Additionally, this paper investigates how incomplete information about the capability of the controller to quickly learn the adversary's attack and adjust its strategy accordingly can impact the equilibrium strategies. In contrast to regular-type capability, when both the rivals maximize their payoffs simultaneously, the capability of the controller to quickly learn is modeled by having the controller apply the best-response strategy. We model this problem using a Bayesian game, where the adversary knows only a priori probabilities about what capability the controller has. Dependence of the equilibrium strategies on these a priori probabilities is illustrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2040003
JournalInternational Game Theory Review
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Computer Science(all)
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


  • Bayesian game
  • Communication
  • interception
  • UAV

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