German environmental IoT startup Dryad Networks has raised €1.8m to develop a large-scale IoT network for the early detection of wildfires in remote forests.
The technology is based on the LoRa standard wide area low power network (LPWAN) technology, with sensors connecting to a series of gateways, all solar powered. The key for Dryad is the LoRa gateways use a mesh network to link back to a ‘border gateway’. This provides the link back to a 4G or satellite NB-IoT connection, and allows the sensor network to span remote forests in an ‘Internet of Trees’.
Camera and satellite-based solutions can take several hours or even days to identify a fire as they rely on the smoke plume developing enough to be detected from a long distance.
The Berlin-based team has demonstrated a proof of concept in a forest in Germany using the 1302 transceiver from Semtech and Maxwell supercapacitors from Tesla to avoid using lithium ion batteries.
“We don’t modify the standard, that’s very important otherwise we would lose the key advantage of the standard which is to use the third party sensors,” said Carsten Brinkschulte, CEO and co-founder of Dryad. “We are putting the mesh into the gateway – that means we have not changed the communication protocols between the nodes so they use the native LoRa 1 protocol. We have instead a proprietary gateway to gateway protocol – this gives increased coverage and we maintain compatibility with any third party sensor or actuator as it is a two way link,” he said.
“This is essential for the use case of the forest and ultra-rural areas. We can place a gateway at the edge to connect to 4G or satellite and the rest of the gateways connect to the border gateway.”
“There is no real hard limit on the number of sensors as it depends on the frequency of measurements, the throughput and the bandwidth. With fire sensors with no data you can