Mobile collectors for opportunistic internet of things in smart city environment with wireless power transfer

Gerald K. Ijemaru, Kenneth L.M. Ang*, Jasmine K.P. Seng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of Internet of Things (IoT) for Smart City (SC) applications, Mobile Data Collectors (MDCs) can be opportunistically exploited as wireless energy transmitters to recharge the energy-constrained IoT sensor-nodes placed within their charging vicinity or coverage area. The use of MDCs has been well studied and presents several advantages compared to the traditional methods that employ static sinks. However, data collection and transmission from the hundreds of thousands of sensors sparsely distributed across virtually every smart city has raised some new challenges. One of these concerns lies in how these sensors are being powered as majority of the IoT sensors are extremely energy-constrained owing to their smallness and mode of deployments. It is also evident that sensor-nodes closer to the sinks dissipate their energy faster than their counterparts. Moreover, battery recharging or replacement is impractical and incurs very large operational costs. Recent breakthrough in wireless power transfer (WPT) technologies allows the transfer of energy to the energy-hungry IoT sensor-nodes wirelessly. WPT finds applications in medical implants, electric vehicles, wireless sensor networks (WSNs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), mobile phones, and so on. The present study highlights the use of mobile collectors (data mules) as wireless power transmitters for opportunistic IoT-SC operations. Specifically, mobile vehicles used for data collection are further exploited as wireless power transmitters (wireless battery chargers) to wirelessly recharge the energy-constrained IoT nodes placed within their coverage vicinity. This paper first gives a comprehensive survey of the different aspects of wireless energy transmission technologies— architecture, energy sources, IoT energy harvesting modes, WPT techniques and applications that can be exploited for SC scenarios. A comparative analysis of the WPT technologies is also highlighted to determine the most energy-efficient technique for IoT scenarios. We then propose a WPT scheme that exploits vehicular networks for opportunistic IoT-SC operations. Experiments are conducted using simulations to evaluate the performance of the proposed model and to investigate WPT efficiency of a power-hungry opportunistic IoT network for different trade-off factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number697
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalElectronics (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromagnetic wave
  • Energy harvesting
  • Internet-of-Things
  • Mobile data collectors
  • Opportunistic data collection
  • Smart city
  • Wireless power transfer (WPT)
  • Wireless sensor networks

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