Precision Farming with Sontheim

Development of an IoT gateway for precision farming

Precision farming is playing an increasingly important role in the cultivation of large agri­cultural areas in order to maximize crop yield and use available raw materials efficiently and cost-effectively. For a leading agricultural vehicle manufacturer, Sontheim has developed a telemetry system that enables precision farming for the driver and guarantees targeted plant sowing and fertilization. Taking into account the highest environ­mental requirements, Sontheim de­signed a gateway including a basic and an application firmware.

The task was to develop a telemetry system for an agricultural vehicle manufacturer. It must be able to collect and store high resolution operation data from up to three CAN channels and transmit them via WLAN to mobile devices (iPhone/iPad). The IoT gateway is to be installed not only in self-proppeled agricultural machines, such as tractors, harvesters or self-propelled sprayers, but also in attachments such as seed drills, groupers, balers or other plant sprayers.

With the IoT gateway, the customer is able to detect and monitor the position of plant seeds (soy, corn, grain, etc.) sowing in real time and extremely accurately. This data is made available live to the driver via a mobile device and on the vehicle display. In the application, the user sees a map of his field to be cultivated. It shows exactly how much seed has been distributed at which location. In a second step the fertilization of the seed follows. It is necessary to apply the expensive fertilizers to the seeds in a targeted and optimized manner and to supply the grain with sufficient substrate for optimized growth. The user can access his stored operation data again. In an app, the machine operator sees in detail which parts of the field are optimally fertilized and in which parts there is still a need for optimization, e.g. by re-fertilizing. In this way, the yield can be increased and valuable resources can be saved at the same time.

COMhawk - Gateway for telemetry, communication and diagnostic tasks


With the gateway, all operational data of the machine can be recorded and displayed on a mobile application. The gateway can be integrated in a wide variety of machines and attachments without having to make any changes. In addition, the system is designed in accordance with protection class IP69k.


It is extremely robust and can be installed outside the cabin. The system offers vehicle users a convenient solution for monitoring and sustainably increasing their crop yields right from the start. At the same time, expensive fertilizer is saved, which is both economically and environmentally friendly.

Implemented and related products

COMhawk - gateway for telemetry, communication- and diagnostic tasks


Communication module with three CAN in­ter­faces. Use as telemetry and dia­gnos­tic mo­dule as well as gate­way, data server and data log­ger in harsh en­vir­on­ments.

  • Powerful 32-bit microcontroller
  • 3× CAN acc. to ISO 11898 (opt. 4× CAN)
  • 1× WLAN acc. to IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Linux operating system
COMhawk xt - second generation high-end telemetry and connectivity module

COMhawk® xt

Next generation em­bed­ded app­li­ca­tion ECU with up to four CAN inter­faces. Use as te­le­me­try and dia­gnos­tic module as well as gate­way, data ser­ver and data logger.

  • Powerful ARM Cortex-A9 processor
  • 2× CAN acc. to ISO 11898 (opt. 4× CAN)
  • 2G/LTE
  • Linux operating system
COMhawk xt light - second generation light telemetry module

COMhawk® xt light

Low-cost IoT-module of the next generation with one CAN interface. Used as a telemetry, dia­gnos­tic and gateway module.

  • 32-bit microcontroller
  • 1× CAN interface acc. to ISO 11898
  • 2G/LTE
  • GNSS