Coalitional Formation-Based Group-Buying for UAV-Enabled Data Collection: An Auction Game Approach

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) enable promising solutions in assisting data collection in wide-area distributed sensor networks, leveraging their advanced properties of high mobility and line-of-sight communication links. However, existing UAV-assisted data collection methods mainly focus on unilaterally maximizing the utility of UAVs or sensors. Unfortunately, the problem driven by the market economy is ignored, namely the game between buyer and seller, in the process of sensors competing for UAV services. To address this problem, we propose a group-buying coalition auction method that encourages sensors to form coalitions to bid for UAV data collection services. Then, a parallel variable neighborhood ascent search algorithm is designed to quickly search the approximately optimal group-buying coalition structure. We further propose a novel group-buying coalition auction method, named TRUST, which can ensure the economical properties, i.e., truthfulness, individual rationality, and maximization of social welfare. Numerical results show that the sensors’ average age of information (AoI) under the proposed method is reduced by 16.7% and 44.5% compared with the coalition formation game (CFG) and joint trajectory design-task scheduling (TDTS) UAV-to-community methods. To our best knowledge, this is the first effort on truthful coalition formation-based group-buying auction.