Edinburgh-based Ionot has launched a crowdfunding campaign for Batbot, a simple 6V, 12V, and 24V battery monitor for vehicles and off-grid power installations that can connect to the monitoring software via LoRaWAN or Sigfox.
"No one wants to miss out on competing at an event, or end up stranded at a campsite, having to wait on break down recovery. Or worse still, spend hundreds of pounds on a replacement after their existing battery has run too low to be salvaged," writes Ionot's David Richie of his design. "Also, commercial batteries in particular are notoriously difficult to remove. They tend to be located in inaccessible parts of a vehicle, requiring a PhD in mechanical engineering, or help from a magician to access them! Batbot provides a solution for this. Batbot ensures that flat batteries are a thing of the past."
The Batbot itself is a compact single-board design in a rugged waterproof housing. Wired to a battery's terminals — using crocodile clips for temporary installation, permanent ring terminals, or an ODB-II connector for compatible vehicles — the device monitors the status of the battery and sends data via local LoRaWAN or Sigfox networks, depending on model chosen.
While the use of IoT-specific data networks coupled with the low amount of data transmitted means there's no fees involved on the network side, Ionot has opted to charge a fee for its software platform - between £7 and £10 (around $9-13) a year after the first year. Sadly, the software platform is still very much in its infancy: The company has currently proven its prototype by recording incoming status messages into Microsoft's Azure IoT Hub platform, but is hoping to use the funds from its crowdfunding campaign to develop a more polished smartphone application for Android and iOS.
Batbot backers can pledge for an Early Bird version in Sigfox or LoRaWAN flavours for £55 (around $71); the price will rise to £99 (around $128) once the first 100 have been exhausted. For those with neither Sigfox nor LoRaWAN coverage, an optional LoRaWAN gateway is available for £79 (around $102).
More information on the project is available on the Kickstarter campaign page.