Optimizing the Operation Cost for UAV-Aided Mobile Edge Computing

Liang Zhang, Nirwan Ansari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Mobile edge computing (MEC) is leveraged to reduce the latency for the computation-intensive and latency-critical tasks offloaded from wireless devices and Internet of Things Devices (IoTDs). Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have attracted much attention from both academia and industry attributed to high mobility, high flexibility, and high maneuverability of UAVs. In this article, a novel UAV-assisted MEC architecture is proposed to provision services to IoTDs, where a UAV provides both communication and computing services or works as a relay node. We then formulate the joint computation offloading, spectrum resource allocation, computation resource allocation, and UAV placement (Joint-CAP) problem in the UAV-MEC network to minimize the operation cost of provisioning IoTDs. Since the Joint-CAP problem is a mixed integer non-linear programming problem and NP-hard, we decompose it into two sub-problems and solve the sub-problems sequentially. Then, we propose a $(1+\epsilon)$-approximation algorithm, named AA-CAP, to solve the Joint-CAP problem, and the performance of the AA-CAP algorithm is demonstrated to be superior to the baseline algorithms via simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9420280
Pages (from-to)6085-6093
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Automotive Engineering


  • Internet of Things
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • computation offloading
  • cost minimization
  • joint resource allocation
  • wireless backhauling


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