A new paper presents the development of a cost-effective automatic system for greenhouse environment control. The architectural and functional features were analyzed in the context of the realization of a controlled-environment agricultural system through all its stages: installation, deployment of the software, integration, maintenance, crop control strategy setup and daily operation of the grower.
The proposed embedded platform provides remote monitoring and control of the greenhouse environment and is implemented as a distributed sensing and control network integrating wired and wireless nodes. All nodes were built with low-cost, low-power microcontrollers.
The key issues that were addressed include the energy-efficient control, the robustness of the distributed control network to faults and a low-cost hardware implementation. The translation of the supervisory growth-planning information to the operational (control network) level is achieved through a specific architecture residing on a crop planning module (CPM) and an interfacing block (IB).
A suite of software applications with flows and interfaces developed from a grower-centric perspective was designed and implemented on a multi-tier architecture. The operation of the platform was validated through implementation of sensing and control nodes, application of software for configuration and visualization, and deployment in typical greenhouses.