P1: APSN – Autonomous Parking Sensor Networks

Project leader: Przemek Pawelczak (TUD)

Wirelesses embedded devices are the basic building block of the Internet of Things (IoT): systems that sense physical phenomena, process perceived information and actuate. And as the demand for mobility and sustainable operation of the IoT increases, powering IoT wireless sensors without batteries and cords becomes a necessity. The natural solution is to supply the energy to the IoT sensors through ambient energy harvesting. This enables the era of battery-less sensing and computation. However within the 3GPP-based cellular mobile ecosystem for the IoT, battery-less embedded systems are still unexplored. One of the reasons is that current energy provision through energy harvesting is not sufficient to enable communication using cellular standards for the IoT, such as NB-IoT or LTE-MTC, which are still not optimized for ultra-low-power (energy harvesting only) systems. For example, remote parking sensors (a classical IoT application) typically requires a bulky AA-battery packs: the size of the PCB itself. This brings three new avenues of research: (i) radically low-power communication methods (in addition to long-range existing IoT standards) such as ambient backscatter, (ii) improved energy harvesting techniques, and (iii) optimization of 3GPP IoT. Therefore, in the context of the whole ZERO program, the specific APSN project objective is to design an autonomous sensor network, anticipated to demonstrate the world’s-first completely battery-less parking system, that does not require any energy supply maintenance, and communicates with 3GPP base stations stationed kilometers away using harvested energy only.