nanotron Releases RF Module Collision Detection System for Mine Safety Applications

January 26, 2019 by Gary Elinoff

Learn more about nanotron's recently-announced RF-based collision avoidance system for mine safety.

This week, nanotron announced a new collision avoidance system specifically designed for mine safety. Here's a brief look at this new product.

The PDS2400 collision avoidance system (CAS) is the result of collaboration between Selectronic, a mainstay in industrial safety, and nanotron Technologies GmbH, a provider of location-aware IoT sensors and wireless technology.

The PDS2400 utilizes nanotron’s swarm bee family of smart RF modules for location sensing. The new system aims to offer designers modular solutions that will reduce the time necessary for successful system customization and deployment.


The PDS2400 collision avoidance system. Image source: nanotron


The RF-based system monitors various V2X ("vehicle-to-x") measurements, focusing on vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-person proximity, specifically for safety in open-pit mines. With the swarm bee LE, vehicle location can be ascertained to within 1m at a range of 100m or more. The swarm bee ER (enhanced resolution), meanwhile, is designed to work at a distance of 10m, and the vehicle’s location can be accurately measured to within 10 cm.

The PDS2400 CAS has been specifically designed to monitor the location, direction, and speed of mine vehicles to greatly reduce the chances of accidental collisions.

The swarm bee Module

swarm bee is an autonomous radio module based on nanotron’s ranging and communication transceiver chip, nanoLOC.


Swarm Bee module. Image from nanotron


The module consists of a microcontroller and a transceiver. For deployment, the only other components needed being the battery and antenna.

For more information on this technology, see our article on the Location Awareness Engine and Hardware Behind nanotron’s real-time location system tracking.

swarm bee Development Kits

nanotron offers the Swarm bee Development Kit Plus (“DK Plus” for short) kit to help developers on to a fast start.


swarm bee development kit. Image from nanotron


The kit can be specified for either the LE (low energy) or ER (enhanced resolution) versions. It comes with several boards and antennas, as well as development software.

The General Landscape of the Asset Tracking World

There is a worldwide movement to exploit the IoT, and many manufacturers are striving to make it as easy as possible to do so without the need for designers to reinvent the wheel.

Two other examples of companies working with asset tracking are:

  • Telit is a provider of tracking modules for cellular as well as for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Targeted applications include smart buildings, the connected home, wearables, healthcare, and automotive.


Telit’s BlueMod+S50 for Bluetooth. Image source Telit


  • PoLTE reportedly doesn’t like to rely on GPS because its signals can’t penetrate all materials. They also aim to avoid the limitations posed by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth due to their short signal ranges. Their solution is to use more robust cellular signals, with a little help from the company’s cloud-based algorithms, to pinpoint location.

Location sensing and real-time asset tracking are likely to become a significant driving force in the development of the IoT. Companies like these are aiming to lead the way in developing more reliable, lower-power, more ruggedized hardware. Additionally, collaboration such as that between Selectronic and nanotron is becoming more common as the IoT leaves the laboratory to become a mainstay in 21st-century life.



The PDS2400 will be officially introduced at the Embedded World Trade Fair in Nuremberg in February 2019.