Ryota Matsumoto
Ryota Matsumoto
Sr. Staff Product Marketing Specialist
Published: October 31, 2023

Smart Agriculture Raises Hopes for Solutions to Agricultural Challenges

Recently, various issues have emerged in the field of agriculture. Climate change, which is progressing around the world, is having an increasingly negative impact on the yield and quality of agricultural products. In addition, the aging and shrinking populations of some developed countries, such as Japan, are aggravating the shortage of agricultural workers, and there are concerns about a decline in productivity. On the other hand, the world's population is expected to grow from 8 billion in 2022 to 9.7 billion in 2050, and demand for food is expected to rise further in the future. To meet this increase in food demand, it is necessary to ensure a stable supply of agricultural products in terms of both quantity and quality, even under adverse conditions for agriculture, such as weather fluctuations and labor shortages.

Smart agriculture, which makes full use of advanced technologies (IoT, AI, robots, etc.), is expected to be a means to address these social issues. Smart agriculture can be broadly categorized into a variety of areas. Ranging from cases that require sophisticated robots to assist in harvesting and other tasks to those that focus on data acquisition and utilization, such as environmental monitoring of fields and environmental control of greenhouses. And in most cases, a series of steps are required to collect, manage, and analyze the data, and then implement feedback for the next action. Therefore, building a sensor system that can acquire accurate data even in unstable environments such as outdoors is the first step in achieving smart agriculture.

Renesas Solutions for Smart Agriculture

Renesas is engaged in product development and solution planning with the mission of building a sustainable and smart society through technologies that make people's lives easier. The RL78 series of 8/16-bit microcontrollers has been highly evaluated for its industry's lowest power consumption and wide lineup, contributing to a smarter society in a wide range of applications from industrial to IoT devices. Among the RL78 series, the RL78/G23 microcontroller is recommended for those who want to design sensor devices for smart agriculture. In addition to multiple ports that can be connected to various sensors such as temperature, humidity, and sunlight, which are required for smart agriculture. In addition, the RL78/G23 microcontroller has the lowest level of power consumption, making it possible to design sensor devices that can operate without battery replacement for a long time even outdoors where it is difficult to secure a power source. A number of enhanced development environments for the RL78/G23 are also provided, including an evaluation board (Fast Prototyping Board) that enables program writing/debugging simply by connecting a USB cable, and the Smart Configurator, which facilitates design with GUI.

RL78/G23-128p Fast Prototyping Board (RTK7RLG230CSN000BJ)

arrow_upward RL78/G23-128p Fast Prototyping Board (RTK7RLG230CSN000BJ)

RL78/G23-128p Fast Prototyping Board Components

arrow_upward Can be connected to a variety of sensor boards and communication boards via PMOD and other terminals

In addition, Renesas is expanding its Winning Combinations* for smart agriculture to make it easier to implement smart agriculture, and Winning Combinations will enable early market development of devices for smart agriculture and support the realization of digital transformation in agriculture. Winning Combos will support the realization of digital transformation in agriculture by enabling the development of devices for smart agriculture to be brought to market quickly.

(*Winning Combinations: Solutions that combine Renesas' cross-functional portfolio of Analog + Power + Embedded Systems + Communication, etc.)

In our next blog, "Renesas Initiatives in Smart Agriculture - Part 2," we will report on how we built a sensor solution for smart agriculture using a board with RL78/G23. If you are interested in developing IoT sensor devices as well as smart agriculture, please take a look at Part 2!

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