Arduino Edge Control redefines smart agriculture

7th May 2021
Alex Lynn

Arduino Pro has announced the launch of the Arduino Edge Control, a smart remote solution for monitoring and control, designed to deploy AI on the edge. Optimised for outdoor environments and easy to place anywhere, it is ideal for precision farming, smart agriculture, and any application requiring intelligent control in isolated locations.

The Arduino Edge Control can be expanded with 2G, 3G, CatM1, or NB-IoT modems, Lora, Sigfox, WiFi, or Bluetooth connectivity; it can be managed remotely via the Arduino Cloud or third-party solutions and powered via solar panels. The option to power the device via solar panels as well as the range of connectivity options means the Edge Control can be used in the most remote of locations and monitored from afar.

The Arduino Edge Control is able to connect sensors, provide real-time monitoring and automatically drive actuators – such as latching valves commonly used in agriculture – reducing production-related risks. Through this advanced solution, smart agriculture sensors collect data about weather conditions, soil quality, crop growth, and more. The data is then sent to the Arduino IoT Cloud, where valuable analytics can be retained to support business at different levels – enabling better decisions about equipment efficiency, plant growth, and staff productivity, or even automating processes such as fertilisation, irrigation, and pest control to boost the quality of crops and minimise human error.

During product development, Arduino partnered with Challenge Agriculture to integrate the Edge Control into Irriduo, the French company's new smart irrigation solution and water management application, the first in a new generation of water management products. 

Combining Challenge Agriculture's R2-DX with the Arduino Edge Control , Arduino MKR GSM1400 for connectivity and firmware, and including access to a dedicated cloud, Irriduo takes a closer look at the soil to actively tell farmers how to achieve the best yield while minimising water consumption and maximising soil preservation. 

The inherent nature of arable farming sets its own unique set of challenges: remote locations, changeable soil conditions based on field topography, and specific crop rotation schedules to mention but a few. Challenge Agriculture and Arduino worked to create an optimal solution for these needs, with 6 sensors per field providing accurate readings for six crop cycles of thee to four months each (i.e. 4,000 measurements), or for as long as four years in the case of perennial crops.

Constant sensing and monitoring are only half the story - by automating irrigation controls, Irriduo also reacts in real-time to changing conditions. This is especially important in regions suffering from droughts, where strict regulations are enforced to limit the volume of water that can be used and the time of day/night irrigation can be activated.

Commenting on the launch, Arduino’s CEO Fabio Violante said: “People are constantly needing to solve everyday problems and improve productivity through their own creativity and ingenuity, and we truly believe they can do this with the Edge Control. We are ready to help companies take the next step in agricultural automation, providing smart irrigation solutions and the ability to apply machine learning on the edge to optimise crop production and increase yields.”

Xavier Eftimakis, Founder & CEO at Challenge Agriculture, added: “The Edge Control allows many cost-effective solutions for multiple smart agriculture projects.”

The Edge Control’s robust design and solar-powered capabilities mean that it is suited for controlling applications in any outdoor environment. For example, it can be used on construction sites and real estate to monitor and automate access control; moreover, swimming pool maintenance and cleaning companies could take advantage of its capabilities to change their service offering by monitoring and controlling the condition of the pool water remotely. As usual, it is expected that countless ingenious solutions will be provided by the Arduino community using this technology.

The Arduino Edge Control is available for €166/US$199.

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