The agricultural logistics and cold chain is a key challenge in smart farming, as significant losses and damage occurs to merchandise while transporting goods to market. As the demand for food increases globally, it has become vital for the farming industry to get smarter by obtaining and using all logistics data available – for example, movement and physical stress, positioning, temperature, and humidity – for each product shipped. The goal is to better understand the entire logistics chain and challenges, reduce losses and increase overall productivity.
Agricultural product-tracking applications use a core microcontroller unit to control MEMS motion sensors that monitor package movement and environmental conditions; a signal-conditioning block to acquire accurate date from external analog sensors; a dedicated GNSS-based positioning chipset, and sub-1GHz technology to provide low-power wide-area networks used to transmit the acquired data. Battery-powered and ESD protected, the system uses high-efficiency power-management ICs to operate for long periods. ST provides a complete solution for every kind of farm management and agricultural tracking system.
The ultra-low-power version of our STM32 microcontrollers, based on an Arm® Cortex®-M0 core, represents the best choice to satisfy challenging performance and power-consumption requirements. ST’s market-proven MEMS and sensors include motion sensors to monitor package movement and trigger other application blocks, minimizing power consumption throughout the logistics chain. Our low-noise, low-power accelerometers offer the best fit for this purpose, while the signal conditioning chain allows the power efficient addition of other peripheral analog sensors. ST’s solution also includes an EEPROM memory for non-volatile data logging throughout the whole logistics chain.
Low-power RF communication is key for this application and ST’s product portfolio offers a range of connectivity technologies to best suit the requirements: NFC for product identification and data collection, GSM solutions to upload data to the cloud at any time, and sub-GHz RF technologies for long-range communication.