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Boost passenger safety, comfort through Ethernet

Posted: 01 Feb 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Collision warning? vehicle electronics? Ethernet? onboard diagnostics?

Ethernet-based automotive technology also offers advanced power savings by supporting multiple low power modes. Compliance with RGMII and MII interface specifications ensure compatibility with other Ethernet devices within the vehicle. For the automotive OEM, this allows for a single vehicle network and the ability to migrate from closed, individual applications to an open, scalable network that can manage multiple applications.

Next-gen in-vehicle networking
New demands on automotive networking technologies has industry leaders working to standardize on Ethernet platforms, gaining benefits in terms of cost, performance, ease of integration, and availability from an open and widely deployed technology. The wide range of in-vehicle applicationssuch as safety, infotainment and driver assistanceis reflected in a slate of rigorous performance standards in various stages of draft and approval.

For example, the ISO17215 standard currently in development defines video communication interfaces for on-board cameras providing driver assistance. This document set specifies the use cases, communication protocol and physical layer requirements (based on Ethernet) used within high resolution digital video interfaces. ISO17215 will standardize video communication protocols for systems such as parking assistance, night vision, lane departure warning, collision mitigation, and detection of traffic signs, blind spots and pedestrians.

On-board diagnostics is another arena that will benefit from standardization, as various national and international OBD processes are not fully aligned. ISO/PAS 27145, currently pending formal approval, addresses this issue by creating a migration path from existing communication platforms to this worldwide harmonized (WWH) OBD standard. This is intended to become the single communication standard for access to all OBD-related information. With an initial communication concept based on controller area network (CAN) technologies, WWH-OBD takes a secondary step, based on existing industry communications standards such as Internet Protocol over Ethernet. Using WWH-OBD platforms, engine manufacturers could certify one engine to meet OBD requirements internationally.

Organizing for progress
The AVnu Alliance is fostering the growth and availability of affordable professional-quality streaming for networked audio and video content. Spearheaded by the IEEE AVB (Audio/Video Bridging) Task Group, this draft standard will enable highly reliable networked transmission for low latency applications commonly found within an automobile. AVB is the distribution of high Quality of Service (QoS) audio and/or video over mixed use Ethernet networks and is desired for Infotainment and other high priority applications that require synchronized data transmission with guaranteed delivery requirements.

In early November 2011, Broadcom, NXP, Freescale, and Harman announced the formation of a special interest group (SIG), established to drive wide-scale adoption of Ethernet-based automotive connectivity through single pair unshielded networks. Jointly developed with founding automotive members BMW and Hyundai , the OPEN Alliance (One-Pair Ether-Net) SIG will address industry requirements for improving in-vehicle safety, comfort and infotainment, while significantly reducing network complexity and cabling costs.

Standardization is essential as a major enabler for new and innovative in-vehicle applications, allowing automotive manufacturers to meet customer expectations and keep the bottom line in check. Widely deployed solutions such as Ethernet provide an inherent cost and architecture advantage, furthering the infrastructure for rugged industrial applications. Standards-based solutions not only reduce time-to-market, they also ensure availability, lifecycle, upgradability, and interoperability. This will play a key role in establishing the networked car of the future?helping automotive OEMs minimize design risk with proven platforms, developed and validated to meet stringent environmental demands.

Automotive Ethernet moving forward
As drivers and their passengers become more digitally savvy and their needs become more sophisticated, the automotive industry can anticipate growing demand for in-vehicle bandwidth. For OEMs, this translates to the integration of cost-effective network performance that delivers high bandwidth connectivity while meeting the rigorous industry standards required for vehicle electronics.

Wide-scale adoption of rugged 100Mbit/s Ethernet-based systems will enable new features and applications in a broad range of vehicles, improving driver safety, comfort, and infotainment. In turn, compatible, open architecture systems will significantly reduce network complexity and cabling costs for automotive OEMs. This will translate into a new generation of vehicles that deliver exciting new features and benefits for drivers and passengers.

About the author
Timothy Lau is senior product line manager for Automotive Networking products for the Infrastructure & Networking Group at Broadcom Corporation. In this role, Lau specializes in network technologies for businesses, as well as mainstream consumer applications.

To download the PDF version of this article, click here.


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