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People and Asset Tracking Device to Ensure Safety in the Mining Industry

Industrial solutions Embedded software development Embedded hardware development IoT Wearable Logistics and asset tracking Beacons

Underground is a hazardous workplace. One way to improve the safety of people who work in mines is to use location-based services that track the location of people and can send alerts in case of emergency.

An Australian provider of location-based solutions for enterprise needed an energy-efficient geolocation system for one of their clients in the mining industry. They needed a solution that would allow for locating and tracking people in underground mines.

Request

Because traditional technologies such as GPS and WiFi tracking do not work well underground, the company required a solution for tracking beacons that could overcome the limitations of common location tracking devices.

To implement this solution, the client was looking for a partner with firmware and hardware development expertise and the ability to work on specif c microcontrollers from different manufacturers.

Solution

Our team at Integra Sources created a special gateway device that is attached to the miner's belt. It captures wireless signals broadcasted by Bluetooth beacons that are installed around the area being monitored. Each signal has a different power depending on the distance of the beacon to the gateway device. 

When the gateway device captures a signal, it transfers its identifier via WiFi, so we know where exactly under the ground the gateway device is located at any given moment. On the surface, the gateway device uses GPS, WiFi, and 3G to locate signals.

Gateway of people and asset tracking system

Result

We designed PCB using nRF52 (as MCU) and SIM5360 (as 3G+GPS) modules and wrote firmware for a gateway device. We also collaborated with a manufacturer on building a waterproof case: the gateway device can work properly in extreme working conditions such as low temperature, high probability of physical damage, poor GPS connection, and the absence of 3G signal. The device's capabilities include:


Scope of work

  • Schematics design
  • Files for the manufacturer
  • Case design
  • Prototyping assembly
  • PCB design
  • Ordering the components and PCB manufacturing
  • Firmware development
  • Hardware testing

Technologies used

 
 
 
 
 
Gateway development and debug process

Battery life

7 days

Location accuracy for GPS signals

1 meter

Waterproof

IP 67

Location accuracy for beacon signals

1 meter

Integra Sources' extensive preparation beforehand helped give confidence to the client that they chose the right partner. Despite the time difference, they are able to stay in constant communication. Integra's dedication to the project has led the client to develop an ongoing relationship.

Christophe Baudia,CEO at GeoMoby

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