Appareo Telematically-Enabled ECU

By Mike Osenga01 June 2020

Appareo has released a new product in the company’s Gateway line of telematically-enabled electronic control units (ECUs). The new Gateway 260 is designed as a rugged but lightweight edge computing platform for mobile equipment applications that provides a range of communication technologies: wi-fi, Bluetooth, cellular, GPS, BroadR-Reach, Ethernet, and controller area networking (CAN).

The device is built with an IP67-rated enclosure for use outside and for mounting on heavy machinery, and like all Appareo Gateways, the Gateway 260 is built on a distribution of embedded Linux (Yocto) with Docker support that allows developers to quickly deploy applications.

Appareo, Fargo, ND, said the Gateway 260 is unique in that it couples the capabilities of a modern LTE connectivity device and a powerful computational platform capable of receiving and processing data from a range of vehicle networks and buses.

“While other solutions require multiple, separate devices to accomplish computation and cloud connectivity, Gateway 260 was designed to aggregate local/wired communications and wi-fi/cellular connectivity in one box with powerful processing capabilities, lowering the total cost for our customers,” said David Batcheller, president & CEO of Appareo. “Our architecture that enables strong local area network integration between off-highway equipment and mobile devices like phones and tablets continues in the Gateway 260. This allows our customers to create mobile app experiences that control or monitor their machines using the operator’s portable electronic devices.”

For example, Batcheller said Väderstad and Appareo collaborated to design an entirely new machine control architecture for Väderstad planters and seeders, featuring the capability to control the machine using iPads through a wi-fi interface. The Appareo Gateway acts as the server for the user interface, contains all the control logic necessary to operate the machine, and commands other ECUs on the CAN bus to execute machine tasks or get information.

The user has the ability to utilize an ISOBUS-compatible Virtual Terminal, an iPad display, or both at the same time. With the inclusion of an iPad as a control interface, the user is able to perform all functions wirelessly to the machine, which has made out-of-cab operations much more convenient, he said. Väderstad was among the first agricultural machinery manufacturer to utilize a mobile tablet in this way.

The Gateways are built to be a secure device for all communications. With trusted chain of boot, as well as cryptographic hardware, these devices can be certain software running on-device is from a trusted source, the company said. Additionally, Appareo telematic products all support encryption or hashing of communications to ensure data can be protected.

From remote diagnostics (securely accessing devices to troubleshoot equipment in real time) to inexpensively deploying firmware updates through differential software updating tools, Appareo Gateways offer a wide spectrum of capabilities.

One company that integrated Appareo’s 300 Series Gateways for its telematic solutions is AGCO Corp. AGCO utilized an Appareo 300 Series Gateway with Iridium connectivity to expand AgCommand, AGCO’s wireless telemetry solution for remote precision agriculture and machine monitoring.

Appareo is an integrator for the 9603 Iridium chipset — the smallest commercial two-way satellite transceiver — which enabled AGCO to equip machines with connectivity on a global scale. The Appareo Gateway can collect and distribute real-time data, product and performance data, health and asset management data, location data, security and recovery data, in addition to remote diagnostics and the possibility for future predictive maintenance capabilities.

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