Automotive Connectivity: The Impact of the Global Network of Tomorrow

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【Summary】Industry experts, technology companies, and IEEE members gathered today at the 7th Ethernet & IP Automotive Technology Day in San Jose, California to learn about wireless and wired technology, automotive Ethernet standards, and how Ethernet technology might further the development of autonomous cars and vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications.

Original   Eric Walz  ·  Nov 01, 2017 3:56 PM PT
author: Eric Walz   

SAN JOSE, Calif., — Industry experts, technology companies, and IEEE members gathered today at the 7th IEEE-SA Ethernet & IP Automotive Technology Day in San Jose, California to learn more about wireless and wired technology, future automotive Ethernet networks, and how ethernet technology might further the development of autonomous cars and vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications.

Included in the agenda, was a presentation by Steven Carlson, President of High Speed Design. High Speed Design Inc. is a consulting company located in Portland, Oregon, that provides design services and intellectual property (IP) services in the lighting and computer networking fields. The company supplies IP to major technology companies, including Cisco.

"We are going to see the car become more and more apart of the complex data retrieval system in place today." Carlson told the attendees. This includes video and audio data that cars of the future will use to keep drivers and passengers connected, as well as supporting the functions of a fully connected (V2V) car. Tomorrow's cars will be able to communicate with each other, warning other cars of potential hazards or traffic problems.

The Rising Demand for Bandwidth

Carlson highlighted the disruptive technologies of the past decade that have increased the demand for bandwidth, including smartphones, internet connected TVs, streaming movie services, such as Netflix, video games, and cloud storage, including the retrieval of data. "We think a lot of these trends will be repeated by the connected car. However, we need to have a bigger insight to be able to prepare for this." he said. One of the possible solution in the automotive industry is adding Ethernet as a standard communications protocol for vehicles, replacing in-vehicle CAN networks, and 4G technology.

Connected Cars to Drive Bandwidth

According to Carlson, Automotive Ethernet is expected to be adopted as the amount of data flowing to and from a connected car is expected to drive bandwidth on mobile networks. Among the largest contributors to the network traffic are infotainment and autonomous driving technology.

5G, the new standard for mobile phones, was once considered a primary option to handle the large amounts of data a connected car will generate. However, industry experts do not believe 5G will be sufficient. "It is not the unicorn that may solve the network demands (for data)." he said. "Connected cars will require more bandwidth than a 5G network can currently provide."

In order to meet the future demand of connected and self-driving cars, new communications standards must be adopted by carmakers and Tier 1 suppliers. The automotive industry has already made progress towards this goal.

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Marvell Semiconductor Inc., with an R&D office in Silicon Valley, is leveraging its strength in wireless and Ethernet technology to develop the latest high-quality AEC-Q100 qualified automotive products and solutions that improve the safety and functionality of the car.

Marvell is working on sensor fusion, by taking a vehicle's infotainment data, the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), body electronics, and control — and connecting them. Marvell is at the forefront of this market, bringing high-speed networking into the vehicle and providing a standards-based data backbone for the vehicle, and includes the flexibility to add new features that haven't even been thought up yet.

Networking the car using Ethernet means that different types of data can scale, allowing for multiple speeds in a network. There are tremendous advantages riding on this, as an increased amount of storage is required for the data produced by sensors, radars and vision systems of autonomous cars. Increased bandwidth is also needed for smart antennas for content such as streaming services and GPS navigation, and camera systems.

The convergence of automotive interfaces into Ethernet backbone has created unique test challenges. For example, how do you ensure that all of these systems are working correctly and seamlessly to guarantee a safe and high-quality automotive experience? The challenge for automakers is the need to optimize bandwidth, reduce latency, verify clock synchronization and validate network security, to ensure safe, reliable transportation in the autonomous and connected cars of the future.

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