Smart soil irrigation system

A smart soil irrigation system monitors and waters the soil in designated areas. A network of autonomous sensors, along with a control module, generates a soil moisture map and oversees the irrigation equipment fitted with docking stations.

Industry:

Agritech

IoT

TRL:

3 → 6

Project duration:

8 months

Challenge

We initiated the project from a concept developed by a startup. As the system needs to operate in agricultural field, we encountered the following challenges:

  • Ensuring the autonomous functionality of all system modules in the field.
  • Poor mobile network coverage, complicating remote server communication.

The startup prioritized creating a user-friendly and affordable system, which required us to reduce the cost and simplify the hardware of the chemical analysis module and the executive module.

Our Role

  • Conceptual design
  • Industrial design
  • PCB electronics development
  • Firmware (embedded software) development
  • Human interface development
  • Mechanical and CAD design
  • Prototype manufacturing & testing

Technologies Used

EnCata offers comprehensive hardware and IoT product development services at a fraction of the cost

For Enterprises

R&D + design + manufacturing under ONE roof
Scale up and down your team
Intergrated hardware + software development
New technologies and research 

CORPORATIONS click HERE for more info

For Startups

MVP and POC prototypes
Affordable consultancy rates
All IP is yours
In-house batch production

STARTUPS click HERE for more info

Approach & Solution

The development of the system was carried out in 2 stages. In the first stage, EnCata worked on the soil chemical analysis module, which takes measurements at predefined intervals and transmits data over the LoRaWAN network to the central control module.

3d model of the soil chemical analysis module

To enable the chemical analysis module to function as a standalone unit outside the system, a BLE module was added, allowing direct retrieval of data stored in the internal memory log.

During the second stage, EnCata developed 2 modules: the central module, collecting data from the analyzer module and using it to send signals to the executive module, and the executive module,receiving signals from the central module,initiating the soil irrigation and fertilization.

3d models of the central and executive modules

The system is designated for operation during the summer months in open environments. As a power source for all modules, solar panels were selected, which charge the installed lithium batteries within the enclosure.

In the development of the control module, we opted to forgo cloud servers and placed the applications servers on a single-board computer within the central module. When an internet connection is available, the system can be remotely managed, and in its absence, direct connection to the central module is possible via Wi-fi, allowing manual system control within the Wi-Fi range.

For IoT systems in agriculture, reliability and cost-effectiveness are top priorities. Agricultural areas often have poor cellular network coverage, so it’s crucial to plan for additional communication and control methods during the development stage to enhance system reliability, such as incorporating Wi-Fi or BLE modules. Additionally, hosting application servers on single-board computers within the control modules, rather than in the cloud, helps ensure robust system operation.

To reduce the system’s production cost, we replaced the off-the-shelf LoRaWAN modem with an RFM95 module, which functions as a transceiver rather than a modem. This decision did increase the development cost due to the extra effort required to modify the firmware. However, it allowed us to employ a significantly cheaper (almost 3 times less expensive) radio module for implementing LoRaWAN communication.

Results and Benefits

EnCata has developed a smart soil irrigation system and manufactured prototypes of 3 modules:

  1. Analyzer module, which collects soil data. 
  2. Central module, which gathers data from the analyzer module and sends signals to the executive module.
  3. Executive module, which receives signals from the central module and initiates the soil irrigation and fertilization.

To operate the system, EnCata has developed software based on LoRaWAN.

5 kms

range of operation

2 options

for system control: remotely through the mobile network and directly via Wi-Fi modules.

3-fold

reduction in the cost of the system

left-arrowBack to All Projects

Have a project to do? Reach out to EnCata team

Thank you! Your inquiry has been sent
Oops! Something went wrong... Try to reload this page and resubmit