Toro

A Fortune 1000 company, and the world-wide leader in turf and landscape maintenance...

Industry: 
Environmental Services & Equipment
Country: 
United States
Reference: 
Uzair Siddiqui, Senior Engineer
Relationship Summary: 

Systematic Computer Science built the software for one of Toro's embedded irrigation controllers.

The Toro Company is an American Fortune 1000 company that specializes in turf maintenance equipment and precision irrigation systems. It is approximately one century old, having been established in 1914. The initial focus of the company was on building tractor engines, but then switched to farm equipment in general, followed by its switch to the company's present focus. Today, Toro helps customers around the world care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields.

Toro's brands are well-known across the United States and many other countries. Among those brands are Exmark, Lawn-Boy, Irritrol, Lawn Genie, Pope (Australia), and Hayter (United Kingdom). Extensive design goes into many of Toro's products, drawing upon expertise from electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and computer scientists. Many of the irrigation products in particular are highly advanced embedded systems that must endure harsh environmental conditions and perform reliably over long periods of time. However, Toro is more than just irrigation; they also manufacture:

  • lawn and garden tractors
  • mowers
  • yard tools
  • snow blowers

The irrigation systems offered by Toro can be complicated networks of components that include valves, sensors, sprinklers, and controllers. Different models of controllers have different capabilities programmed into their software. Some controllers are simple state machines which can be configured through a small set of dials and switches. Other controllers are complicated applications that can be accessed and configured via a personal computer over a USB cable.

The following excerpt from one of Toro's irrigation controllers represents a fascinating challenge from a development perspective:

"Operation: Controller(s) shall be programmable through the use of a personal computer with an interactive graphic user interface (GUI) that utilizes digital photos of the irrigation zones in the owner’s yard and/or garden and shall provide week-at-a-glance and month-at-a-glance program visibility as well as point-and-click and drag-and-drop methods of placing and adjusting stations with the computer’s mouse and cursor. From the computer, system capabilities shall include but shall not be limited to, establishing, storing and transmitting automatic irrigation programs, running real time status checks and commanding manual operations. The system shall provide 2-way, wireless communication between the personal computer in the owner’s home and the indoor controller(s) elsewhere on the property. PIN numbers (from 0001 to 9999) shall be selectable for unique system addresses to prevent interference from similar systems or unauthorized access. The current schedule shall be stored in the controller’s non-volatile memory, to allow the computer to be used for other purposes, as well as in the PC’s program. A remote control device shall be included and required for system communication and shall be connectable to the PC via a USB cord or used, handheld, for manual commands to the controller while on site. The remote’s range shall be up to one thousand (1000) feet, line of sight." [1]

Systematic Computer Science was commissioned by Toro to design and develop the software for one of their irrigation controllers. This was done using cross compiler technology to produce C code for the embedded system.

Systematic Computer Science designed and developed the software for a Toro irrigation controller