Exploiting drones as flying base stations to assist the terrestrial cellular networks or replace them is promising in 5G and beyond. One of the challenging problems is optimally deploying multiple drones to achieve coverage for the ground users. Usually, the goal is to find the minimum number of drones and their placement when all users are served. In this work, we consider a more realistic scenario. We focus on the situation where the number of drones is given in advance, and this number is significantly smaller than the number required to cover all ground users. This assumption is reasonable in emergency cases or battlefields where the number of ground users (for example, soldiers or firefighters) is much larger than the number of drones. Additionally, we consider the case when the ground users have a rank, interpreted as weight, and we aim to deploy drones’ swarm such that the sum of the weights of the ground users covered by the swarm is maximized while the drones in the swarm are connected (without involving a third party entity that provides connectivity in the swarm). Our solution significantly improves currently best known approximation ratio for the problem from 1/144 to 1/28.
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