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Development of a wireless sensors/controllers network for soil water content monitoring for irrigation management


Irrigation is considered one of the most important technologies used to increase productivity and to enable greater efficiency and stability in agricultural production. Their adoption should be based on project technical and economic feasibility, obtained through detailed and careful analysis of involved climatic, agronomic and economic factors. The management can be defined as the judicious use of available resources to achieve a certain goal. In irrigation case, the management aims at the lowest possible cost, to maximize crop production with less water, not compromising the quality of natural resources, contributing to losses reduction by drift, evaporation and percolation. For this, the development of technologically efficient system with reduced cost, ease of installation and maintenance is needed. Thus, a network of intelligent sensors capable of monitoring the environment in real time, of adapting to different crop development stages, different soils and crops and to communicate with each other and to a server becomes necessary. This project aims the technical feasibility study for the development and deployment of a wireless sensors/controllers network which cost is low and deployment and maintenance is easy, to determine the soil water content for efficient irrigation management. For such development, there is needed that the electronic modules have low power microcontrollers, since they are powered by batteries and solar panels, and also to be able to perform the inference algorithms of the measured variables, calibration and correction of such measures, communication with other network elements and to run the irrigation controller, based on Fuzzy Logic. The approach of artificial intelligence that will be used has the ability to learn and to estimate parameters from their knowledge base and from the conditions around. In addition to the microcontroller capabilities, the sensor module must have elements to measure the soil and environment temperatures, the air relative humidity, the ambient lightening, the soil water content, and a wireless communication module. With this work results we expect to have a system for irrigation management that is efficient and effective, which can easily be accessed by family agricultures, small and medium farmers. Thus, resulting in expansion of the sustainable use of available water resources. (AU)