High-Speed Networking Becomes a Reality For Automotive
Creating New Consumer Features
Marvell First to Deliver Samples to Auto Manufacturers
With the availability of high-speed LTE networks and the thrust toward autonomous driving, car companies are working on a structured approach to high-speed data distribution to and within vehicles. Today, Gigabit Ethernet over a single pair of twisted-pair copper wire has become a reality for the automotive industry paving the way for high-speed networking within a vehicle. In November of last year, Marvell delivered the first samples based on the IEEE 1000BASE-T1 pre-standard specification for verification of performance in vehicles. The 1000BASE-T1 standard allows high-speed and bi-directional data traffic over light-weight, low-cost, single-pair cable harnesses. This enables car companies to create a whole new array of exciting automotive features and benefits. Early chip samples from Marvell allow auto makers the ability to evaluate the performance of this new standard and identify possible issues early in the application development process, prior to production, to accelerate time to market.
Industry Standards Organizations Paving the Way to Seamless Automotive Wireless Communications
Simultaneously, a number of industry standards organizations are working on automotive-specific wireless standards that will enable seamless internal and external communications with vehicles to enable cloud-based applications. With LTE standards enabling higher than 100Mbps data capability, LTE connectivity will require high-speed links in line with 100BASE-T1 or 1000BASE-T1 Ethernet capabilities within the vehicle, depending on the actual real throughput available to the user from the network. As carrier network coverage and data billing rates become accepted by consumers, cloud-based applications for automotive will allow large data transfers that will enable not only wider infotainment, but concierge and navigation applications, plus remote diagnostics with secure over-the-air (OTA) updates. (Won’t it be nice to know when you’re pulled over on the side of the highway on vacation, exactly what is wrong with your car?) Such mechanisms will also enable security and accelerated fleet management for business and commercial enterprises that can help lower the cost of maintenance, while increasing customer satisfaction by keeping drivers up-to-date with the latest cloud-based data services.
A History of Firsts
Marvell has a history of actively participating in the IEEE standards development process. In 2011, Marvell was a key driver in the Call For Interest (CFI) at IEEE for an Automotive-specific Gigabit Ethernet PHY. This CFI received unanimous support (a relatively rare event in IEEE) and now the new IEEE 802.1bp standard is set to be ratified in 2016. In the meantime, Marvell has already begun sampling pre-standard parts to the industry for testing. The availability of parts has sparked remarkable interest and activity in testing and developing new applications for high-speed Ethernet.
Will Automotive Become the Largest IT Employer In the Near Future?
The introduction of Automotive-specific Gigabit Ethernet can provide the backbone for enhanced connectivity applications. The automotive industry is rapidly adopting Ethernet as a key enabler, not only for its superior price/performance, but also because it supports the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. The OSI model allows for the rapid deployment of applications and services. Using this layered approach, a specific PHY technology, which met both the light weight and low EMC requirements, had to be developed that was consistent with all the existing upper layers of the OSI model. This gives the benefits of being able to leverage and reuse existing developments in layers above the PHY level. It is amazing to think that with this unprecedented potential expansion of automotive connectivity and its applications, it is conceivable that the automotive industry could become the world’s largest employer of IT experts in the coming years.
More to Come
In addition to a long history of WiFi and Bluetooth combo products in automotive, Marvell is enabling WiFi technology to become part of this external connectivity by developing 802.11ai technology that allows for Fast Initial Link Setup (FILS) that provides opportunistic access to base stations whenever they become available as the car drives at high speed. In addition, 802.11p products will enable short-range wireless connectivity for collision avoidance or pedestrian/cyclist detection, applications that demand quick response and are not possible via current Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and LTE technologies. With these wireless technologies placed in the roof of the car, Ethernet plays an important role for high-speed communication to and within the vehicle. By delivering early samples based on the latest developing industry standards, Marvell is helping to “drive” new applications in automotive connectivity technology.