Precision agriculture (PA) refers to a series of practices and tools necessary to correctly evaluate farming needs. The accuracy and effectiveness of PA solutions are highly dependent on accurate and timely analysis of the soil conditions. In this paper, a proof-of-concept towards an autonomous precision irrigation system is provided through the integration of a center pivot (CP) irrigation system with wireless underground sensor networks (WUSNs). This Wireless Underground Sensor-Aided Center Pivot (WUSA-CP) system will provide autonomous irrigation management capabilities by monitoring the soil conditions in real time using wireless underground sensors. To this end, field experiments with a hydraulic drive and continuous-move center pivot irrigation system are conducted. The results are used to evaluate empirical channel models for soil-air communications. The experiment results show that the concept of WUSA-CP is feasible. Through the design of an underground antenna, communication ranges can be improved by up to 400% compared to conventional antenna designs. The results also highlight that the wireless communication channel between soil and air is significantly affected by many spatio-temporal aspects, such as the location and burial depth of the sensors, soil texture and physical properties, soil moisture, and the vegetation canopy height. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work on the development of an autonomous precision irrigation system with WUSNs.
Ad Hoc Networks – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2013
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