Real-time, automated light type monitoring and optimal control in horticulture
Despite the scientifically proven relevance of diffuse sunlight for crop production improvement, commercial light sensing technologies do not allow to effectively and affordably implement an automated control of shadings systems in horticultural practices. For this reason, the shading process is not optimized, and so is the production.
To fill this gap, we have integrated a cyber-physical system gathering real-time information about the type of sunlight available in greenhouses under continuously changing irradiation conditions, and providing input for controlling shading screens so as to optimize crop growth.
The system represents an innovation for it makes available, affordable, and easy to implement in commercial precision horticulture the real-time monitoring of sunlight type available to crops. Such a step-forward in the proposed application domain is enabled by a key component of the OptiLight system: the CIS sensor, a breakthrough device capable of performing a full irradiation assessment broken into all components (direct and diffuse) of sunlight.
The results obtained and the tests carried out also during the OptiLight project have allowed us to quickly develop two new products that we will launch on the market in the first semester of 2021: Capt2Go, a low cost and handy solar sensor that measures global, direct, and diffuse irradiation with no need for sun tracking systems or moving parts, and WDS, a compact sun-fueled platform providing power, communication and networking capabilities to environmental monitoring sensors and technologies.
The OptiLight system features the STM32 microcontrollers’ technology, and has tested by the BME team in its VRT facilities.
The financial backing, enabling technologies, and innovation management support ensured by the Fed4SAE consortium have helped to integrate, test and validate the system in real environment, thus paving the way to the commercial exploitation of advanced light control in the target market sector.
The successful implementation of the OptiLight project has allowed to accelerate the launch to market of an affordable solution enabling the automated light type control, thus responding to the challenge of highly efficient horticultural management. practices.
At innovation level we have increased the CIS sensor’s TRL with respect to its application in the precision horticultural domain, while widening Alitec’s technology portfolio with a ready-to-integrate solution demonstrated in operational environment.
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