STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor provider serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has announced a design win for STM32WLE5 — the world’s first LoRa System-on-Chip (SoC).
The customer application, developed by automated rubber-tapping specialist CIHEVEA, uses the low-power networking to revolutionize the automation of extracting latex from rubber trees. CIHEVEA has equipped more than 200,000 rubber trees within its Hainan rubber-tree plantation with its innovative solution to improve rubber-tapping productivity and output capacity.
The ST LoRa SoC acts as a highly efficient, low-power communication hub and control center for the Rubber Tapping Robot from CIHEVEA. The robot also includes two precision motors and a series of environmental sensors that monitor weather conditions, including temperature, air pressure, and humidity.
Clamped to the tree, the STM32WLE5 transmits the sensors’ data to a mesh gateway via a dedicated LoRa application network server, where the server can monitor, test and debug, and coordinate the robots in the field. Once all pre-set conditions are met, the SoC triggers the rubber tapping motors to perform autonomous cutting, which usually happens very early in the morning.
Leveraging the cost-effective, high-efficiency STM32WLE5 and LoRa networking, CIHEVEA’s novel solution increases latex yield by 2-3x while minimizing damage to trees, prolonging the trees’ productive lifespan. In addition to improving yields and extending asset lifetimes, the rubber-tapping robot also resolves chronic labor challenges, as tree tapping can be difficult and dangerous for human workers.
The STM32WLE5 is an ultra-low power multi-modulation wireless SoC microcontroller that combines an Arm® Cortex®‐M4 core running at 48 MHz, a sub-GHz radio allowing long range connectivity, and a proven collection of ST-designed peripherals.
Delivering high-performance while operating from a package as small as 5 x 5mm (UFBGA), the STM32WLE5 is cost-effective and meets the robustness and performance requirements of the agriculture industry. The STM32WLEx microcontroller is also an open platform supporting LoRa, (G)FSK, (G)MSK, and BPSK modulations.
“The fully-automatic, intelligent, rubber-tapping system is a revolution for the rubber industry. With the increased use of platform technology and the ability to communicate via the low-power LoRa network technology provided by the STM32WLE5, the smart rubber-plantation platform system is creating a new rubber-plantation ecosystem, moving away from traditional high-intensity, heavy-pollution, inefficient, production methods and is ushering in a new era of green environmental-protection, high-efficiency, digital transformation,” said XU Zhen Kun, vice chairman of CIHEVEA.
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