Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Escort, a Tatarstan, Russia-based technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless connectivity for its ‘Escort TD-BLE fuel level sensor’, a platform primarily designed for the transport telematics market.
Escort TD-BLE is the world’s first wireless capacitive fuel level sensor integrating Bluetooth LE technology, according to the company. Once installed to a vehicle, the device is set-up and commissioned through the iOS and Android-compatible ‘Escort Sensor Configurator’ app on a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone, using Bluetooth LE connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC. Once commissioned, the Escort TD-BLE enables fleet managers to remotely monitor the amount of fuel being used by that vehicle.
The nRF52832 SoC’s powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® processor with floating point unit (FPU) provides ample processing capability for the fuel level sensor to accurately measure the fuel level of the tank and report the data. The device then employs the Nordic SoC to wirelessly send the collected fuel level data via Bluetooth LE connectivity to a Bluetooth LE- and GPS-enabled tracking device. Alternatively, the fuel level sensor can be connected to trackers that don’t offer Bluetooth LE connectivity via the company’s proprietary ‘BLE-BASE’ wireless adapter. The fuel level sensor relays data to the BLE-BASE—which also integrates a Nordic nRF52832 SoC—that in turn can send the data to a tracker via an RS-485 interface.
Once the data is transmitted from the fuel level sensor to the tracker, the data can then be transferred to the Cloud—typically via the GSM channel, or in rare cases via satellite—where the detailed information and insights can be viewed through a web-based dashboard. This information allows fleet managers, for example, to closely monitor the fuel consumption of individual vehicles, track a whole fleet more efficiently, reduce operating costs by optimizing routes, and assess potential breaches of protocol by drivers.
Escort TD-BLE uses a Lithium-Thionyl chloride 2600mAh battery to provide approximately seven years of continuous operation before replacement, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.
The nRF52832 SoC’s Arm M4 processor is combined with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth® 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports up to twenty connections. Nordic’s software architecture also includes a clear separation between the RF protocol software and Escort’s application code, simplifying development and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t get corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying the application code.
“We selected Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC for the Escort TD-BLE fuel level sensor and BLE-BASE because the chip provides an all-in-one processor and RF solution, simple implementation and high functionality, as well as performance at a relatively low cost,” says Vladimir Dmitriev, Co-Founder and Chief Developer at Escort.
“In addition, we appreciate Nordic’s good documentation, the availability and abundance of development tools, and the convenience of Nordic’s DevZone forum.”