ENTRAS – Energy self-powered tracking system

Optimal combination of different localization solutions

Consistent and energy-efficient localization of goods, people and animals is made possible by the modular, energy-independent ENTRAS tracking system. Satellite navigation was combined with localization in wireless sensor networks and energy supply through Energy Harvesting.

The researchers from Fraunhofer IIS and the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center combined satellite-based navigation with relative localization in wireless sensor networks and the supply of tracking tags by so-called Energy Harvesting (energy generation from the environment). Global satellite navigation systems (e.g. GPS, Galileo), radio technologies (e.g. LTE-M, NB-IoT, mioty®), sensors and local positioning and communication are combined with Fraunhofer IIS's s-net® technology for wireless networking.

Unlimited runtime thanks to Energy Harvesting

In the project, tracking components were developed that are modular and can therefore be flexibly adapted to possible deployment scenarios. In addition to a complete battery management system, the power supply module has an interface for generating electrical energy from the environment using a wide variety of energy converters such as solar cells, thermogenerators and vibration converters. This Energy Harvesting technology enables the day's battery to be recharged during operation. This means that no maintenance work is required to recharge or replace the batteries. This enables unlimited operating times, depending on the application scenario.

With an update rate of one hour, the system can be operated independently throughout by Energy Harvesting from light and vibrations depending on the ambient conditions.

Wireless sensor network allows unrestricted localization

The tracking system consists of several tracking tags (radio nodes for localisation) which share a mobile radio connection. Due to the modular construction principle, individual function blocks can be configured according to individual customer requirements and applications. This adaptation takes place already during production of the individual tags, during commissioning by configurable software or during operation by software control.

Depending on the area of application, several identical tags (homogeneous composite) as well as a combination of different tags (heterogeneous composite) can be used. For example, a homogeneous tag combination exists for (transport) containers. For rescue teams in action or for individual piece goods on pallets, the use of heterogeneous tags is the optimum variant.

The tracking system is characterized by:

  • Unlimited uptime through Energy Harvesting
  • Connection and acquisition of sensor values via short-range radio (s-net®)
  • Flexible application possibilities due to modular modular structure
  • Combination of satellite-based navigation and relative localization in sensor networks (s-net®)

Possible application fields:

  • Tracking of goods and objects
  • Monitoring of persons
  • Location of wild or farm animals