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Archive for the ‘Automotive’ Category

October 20th, 2017

Long-Term Prospects for Ethernet in the Automotive Sector

By Tim Lau, Senior Director Automotive Product Management, Marvell

The automobile is encountering possibly the biggest changes in its technological progression since the invention of the internal combustion engine nearly 150 years ago. Increasing levels of autonomy will reshape how we think about cars and car travel. It won’t be just a matter of getting from point A to point B while doing very little else — we will be able to keep on doing what we want while in the process of getting there.

As it is, the modern car already incorporates large quantities of complex electronics – making sure the ride is comfortable, the engine runs smoothly and efficiently, and providing infotainment for the driver and passengers. In addition, the features and functionality being incorporated into vehicles we are now starting to buy are no longer of a fixed nature. It is increasingly common for engine control and infotainment systems to require updates over the course of the vehicle’s operational lifespan.

Such an update is the one issue that proved instrumental in first bringing Ethernet connectivity into the vehicle domain. Leading automotive brands, such as BMW and VW, found they could dramatically increase the speed of uploads performed by mechanics at service centers by installing small Ethernet networks into the chassis of their vehicle models instead of trying to use the established, but much slower, Controller Area Network (CAN) bus. As a result, transfer times were cut from hours to minutes.

As an increasing number of upgradeable Electronic Control Units (ECUs) have appeared (thereby putting greater strain on existing in-vehicle networking technology), the Ethernet network has itself expanded. In response, the semiconductor industry has developed solutions that have made the networking standard, which was initially developed for the relatively electrically clean environment of the office, much more robust and suitable for the stringent requirements of automobile manufacturers. The CAN and Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) buses have persisted as the main carriers of real-time information for in-vehicle electronics – although, now, they are beginning to fade as Ethernet evolves into a role as the primary network inside the car, being used for both real-time communications and updating tasks.

In an environment where implementation of weight savings are crucial to improving fuel economy, the ability to have communications run over a single network (especially one that needs just a pair of relatively light copper cables) is a huge operational advantage. In addition, a small connector footprint is vital in the context of increasing deployment of sensors (such as cameras, radar and LiDAR transceivers), which are now being mounted all around the car for driver assistance/semi-autonomous driving purposes. This is supported by the adoption of unshielded, twisted-pair cabling.

Image sensing, radar and LiDAR functions will all produce copious amounts of data. So data-transfer capacity is going to be a critical element of in-vehicle Ethernet networks, now and into the future. The industry has responded quickly by first delivering 100 Mbit/s transceivers and following up with more capacious standards-compliant 1000 Mbit/s offerings.

But providing more bandwidth is simply not enough on its own. So that car manufacturers do not need to sacrifice the real-time behavior necessary for reliable control, the relevant international standards committees have developed protocols to guarantee the timely delivery of data. Time Sensitive Networking (TNS) provides applications with the ability to use reserved bandwidth on virtual channels in order to ensure delivery within a predictable timeframe. Less important traffic can make use of the best-effort service of conventional Ethernet with the remaining unreserved bandwidth.

The industry’s more forward-thinking semiconductor vendors, Marvell among them, have further enhanced real-time performance with features such as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), employing Ternary Content-Addressable Memory (TCAM), in their automotive-optimized Ethernet switches. The DPI mechanism makes it possible for hardware to look deep into each packet as it arrives at a switch input and instantly decide exactly how the message should be handled. The packet inspection supports real-time debugging processes by trapping messages of a certain type, and markedly reduces application latency experienced within the deployment by avoiding processor intervention.

Support from remote management frames is another significant protocol innovation in automotive Ethernet. These frames make it possible for a system controller to control the switch state directly. For example, a system controller can automatically power down I/O ports when they are not needed – a feature that preserves precious battery life.

The result of these adaptations to the core Ethernet standard, as well as the increased resilience it now delivers, is the emergence of an expansive feature set that is well positioned for the ongoing transformation of the car, taking it from just being a mode of transportation into the data-rich, autonomous mobile platform it is envisaged to become in the future.

 

 

August 2nd, 2017

Wireless Technology Set to Enable an Automotive Revolution

By Avinash Ghirnikar, Director of Technical Marketing of Connectivity Business Group

The automotive industry has always been a keen user of wireless technology. In the early 1980s, Renault made it possible to lock and unlock the doors on its Fuego model utilizing a radio transmitter. Within a decade, other vehicle manufacturers embraced the idea of remote key-less entry and not long after that it became a standard feature. Now, wireless technology is about to reshape the world of driving.

The first key-less entry systems were based on infra-red (IR) signals, borrowing the technique from automatic garage door openers. But the industry swiftly moved to RF technology, in order to make it easier to use. Although each manufacturer favored its own protocol and coding system, they adopted standard low-power RF frequency bands, such as 315 MHz in the US and 433 MHz in Europe. As concerns about theft emerged, they incorporated encryption and other security features to fend off potential attacks. They have further refreshed this technology as new threats appeared, as well as adding features such as proximity detection to remove the need to even press the key-fob remote’s button.

The next stage in favor of convenience was to employ Bluetooth instead of custom radios on the sub-1GHz frequency band so as to dispense with the keyfob altogether. With Bluetooth, an app on the user’s smartphone can not only unlock the car doors, but also handle tasks such as starting the heater or air-conditioning to make the vehicle comfortable ready for when the driver and passengers actually get in.

Bluetooth itself has become a key feature on many models over the past decade as automobile manufacturers have looked to open up their infotainment systems. Access to the functions located on dashboard through Bluetooth has made it possible for vehicle occupants to hook up their phone handsets easily. Initially, it was to support legal phone calls through hands-free operation without forcing the owner to buy and install a permanent phone in the vehicle itself. But the wireless connection is just as good at relaying high-quality audio so that the passengers can listen to their favorite music (stored on portable devices). We have clearly move a long way from the CD auto-changer located in the trunk.

Bluetooth is a prime example of the way in which RF technology, once in place, can support many different applications – with plenty of potential for use cases that have not yet been considered. Through use of a suitable relay device in the car, Bluetooth also provides the means by which to send vehicle diagnostics information to relevant smartphone apps. The use of the technology for diagnostics gateway points to an emerging use for Bluetooth in improving the overall safety of car transportation.

But now Wi-Fi is also primed to become as ubiquitous in vehicles as Bluetooth. Wi-Fi is able to provide a more robust data pipe, thus enabling even richer applications and a tighter integration with smartphone handsets. One use case that seems destined to change the cockpit experience for users is the emergence of screen projection technologies. Through the introduction of such mechanisms it will be possible to create a seamless transition for drivers from their smartphones to their cars. This will not necessarily even need to be their own car, it could be any car that they may rent from anywhere in the world.

One of the key enabling technologies for self-driving vehicles is communication. This can encompass vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) links, vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) messages and, through technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, vehicle-to-anything (V2X).

V2V provides the ability for vehicles on the road to signal their intentions to others and warn of hazards ahead. If a pothole opens up or cars have to break suddenly to avoid an obstacle, they can send out wireless messages to nearby vehicles to let them know about the situation. Those other vehicles can then slow down or change lane accordingly.

The key enabling technology for V2V is a form of the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi protocol, re-engineered for much lower latency and better reliability. IEEE 802.11p Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE) operates in the 5.9 GHz region of the RF spectrum, and is capable of supporting data rates of up to 27 Mbit/s. One of the key additions for transportation is scheduling feature that let vehicles share access to wireless channels based on time. Each vehicle uses the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) reading, usually provided by the GPS receiver, to help ensure all nearby transceivers are synchronised to the same schedule.

A key challenge for any transceiver is the Doppler Effect. On a freeway, the relative velocity of an approaching transmitter can exceed 150 mph. Such a transmitter may be in range for only a few seconds at most, making ultra-low latency crucial. But, with the underlying RF technology for V2V in place, advanced navigation applications can be deployed relatively easily and extended to deal with many other objects and even people.

V2I transactions make it possible for roadside controllers to update vehicles on their status. Traffic signals, for example, can let vehicles know when they are likely to change state. Vehicles leaving the junction can relay that data to approaching cars, which may slow down in response. By slowing down, they avoid the need to stop at a red signal – and thereby cross just as it is turning to green. The overall effect is a significant saving in fuel, as well as less wear and tear on the brakes. In the future, such wireless-enabled signals will make it possible improve the flow of autonomous vehicles considerably. The traffic signals will monitor the junction to check whether conditions are safe and usher the autonomous vehicle through to the other side, while other road users without the same level of computer control are held at a stop.

Although many V2X applications were conceived for use with a dedicated RF protocol, such as WAVE for example, there is a place for Bluetooth and, potentially, other wireless standards like conventional Wi-Fi. Pedestrians and cyclists may signal their presence on the road with the help of their own Bluetooth devices. The messages picked up by passing vehicles can be relayed using V2V communications over WAVE to extend the range of the warnings. Roadside beacons using Bluetooth technology can pass on information about local points of interest – and this can be provide to passengers who can subsequently look up more details on the Internet using the vehicle’s built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

One thing seems to be clear, the world of automotive design will be a heterogeneous RF environment that takes traditional Wi-Fi technology and brings it together with WAVE, Bluetooth and GPS. It clearly makes sense to incorporate the right set of radios together onto one single chipset, which will thereby ease the integration process, and also ensure optimal performance is achieved. This will not only be beneficial in terms of the design of new vehicles, but will also facilitate the introduction of aftermarket V2X modules. In this way, existing cars will be able to participate in the emerging information-rich superhighway.

August 1st, 2017

Connectivity Will Drive the Cars of the Future

By Avinash Ghirnikar, Director of Technical Marketing of Connectivity Business Group

The growth of electronics content inside the automobile has already had a dramatic effect on the way in which vehicle models are designed and built. As a direct consequence of this, the biggest technical change is now beginning to happen – one that overturns the traditional relationship between the car manufacturer and the car owner.

With many subsystems now controlled by microprocessors running software, it is now possible to alter the behavior of the vehicle with an update and introduce completely new features and functionality by merely updating software. The high profile Tesla brand of high performance electric vehicles has been one of the companies pioneering this approach by releasing software and firmware updates that give existing models the ability to drive themselves. Instead of buying a car with a specific, fixed set of features, vehicles are being upgraded via firmware over the air (FOTA) without the need to visit a dealership.

Faced with so many electronic subsystems now in the vehicle, high data rates are essential. Without the ability to download and program devices quickly, the car could potentially become unusable for hours at a time. On the wireless side, this is requiring 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds and very soon this will be ramped up to 802.11ax speeds that can potentially exceed Gigabit/second data rates.

Automotive Ethernet that can support Gigabit speeds is also now being fitted so that updates can be delivered as fast as possible to the many electronic control units (ECUs) around the car. The same Ethernet backbone is proving just as essential for day-to-day use. The network provides high resolution, real-time data from cameras, LiDAR, radar, tire pressure monitors and various other sensors fitted around the body, each of which is likely to have their own dedicated microprocessor. The result is a high performance computer based on distributed intelligence. And this, in turn, can tap into the distributed intelligence now being deployed in the cloud.

The beauty of distributed intelligence is that it is an architecture that can support applications that in many cases have not even been thought of yet. The same wireless communication networks that provide the over-the-air updates can relay real-time information on traffic patterns in the vicinity, weather data, disruptions due to accidents and many other pieces of data that the onboard computers can then use to plan the journey and make it safer. This rapid shift towards high speed intra- and inter-vehicle connectivity, and the vehicle-to-anything (V2X) communication capabilities that have thus resulted will enable applications to be benefitted from that would have been considered pure fantasy just a few years ago,

The V2X connectivity can stop traffic lights from being an apparent obstacle and turn them into devices that provide the vehicle with hints to save fuel. If the lights send out signals on their stop-go cycle approaching vehicles can use them to determine whether it is better to decelerate and arrive just in time for them to turn green instead of braking all the way to a stop. Sensors at the junction can also warn of hazards that the car then flags up to the driver. When the vehicle is able to run autonomously, it can take care of such actions itself. Similarly, cars can report to each other when they are planning to change lanes in order to leave the freeway, or when they see a slow-moving vehicle ahead and need to decelerate. The result is considerably smoother braking patterns that avoid the logjam effect we so often see on today’s crowded roads. The enablement of such applications will require multiple radios in the vehicle, which will need to work cooperatively in a fail-safe manner.

Such connectivity will also give OEMs unprecedented access to real-time diagnostic data, which a car could be uploading opportunistically to the cloud for analysis purposes. This will provide information that could lead to customized maintenance services that could be planned in advance, thereby cutting down diagnostic time at the workshop and meaning that technical problems are preemptively dealt with, rather than waiting for them to become more serious over time.

There is no need for automobile manufacturers to build any of these features into their vehicle models today. As many computations can be offloaded to servers in the cloud, the key to unlocking advanced functionality is not wholly dependent on what is present in the car itself. The fundamental requirement is access to an effective means of communications, and that is available right now through high speed Ethernet within the vehicle plus Wi-Fi and V2X-compatible wireless for transfers going beyond the chassis. Both can be supplied so that they are compliant with the AEC-Q100 automotive standard – thus ensuring quality and reliability. With those tools in place, we don’t need to see all the way ahead to the future. We just know we have the capability to get there.

June 20th, 2017

Autonomous Vehicles and Digital Features Make the Car of the Future a “Data Center on Wheels”

By Donna Yasay, VP of Worldwide Business Development

Advanced digital features, autonomous vehicles and new auto safety legislation are all amongst the many “drivers” escalating the number of chips and technology found in next-generation automobiles.  The wireless, connectivity, storage and security technologies needed for the internal and external vehicle communications in cars today and in the future, leverage technologies used in a data center—in fact, you could say the automobile is becoming—a Data Center on Wheels.

Here are some interesting data points supporting the evolution of the Data Center on Wheels:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandates that by May 2018, all new cars in the U.S. to have backup cameras. The agency reports that half of all new vehicles sold today already have backup cameras, showing widespread acceptance even without the NHTSA mandate.
  • Some luxury brands provide panoramic 360-degree surround views using multiple cameras. NVIDIA, which made its claim to fame in graphics processing chips for computers and video games, is a leading provider in the backup and surround view digital platforms, translating its digital expertise into the hottest of new vehicle trends. At the latest 2017 International CES, NVIDIA showcased its latest NVIDIA PX2, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Car Computer for Self-Driving Vehicles, which enables automakers and their tier 1 suppliers to accelerate production of automated and autonomous vehicles.
  • According to an Intel presentation at CES reported in Network World, just one autonomous car will use 4,000GB (or 4 Terabytes) of data per day.
  • A January study by Strategy Analytics reported that by 2020, new cars are expected to have approximately 1,000 chips per vehicle.

Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI), autonomous vehicles—will rely on digital information streamed internally within the vehicle and externally from the vehicle to other vehicles or third-party services via chips, sensors, network and wireless connectivity.  All of this data will need to be processed, stored or transmitted seamlessly and securely, because a LoJack® isn’t necessarily going to help with a car hack.

This is why auto makers are turning to the high tech and semiconductor industries to support the move to more digitized, automated cars. Semiconductor leaders in wireless, connectivity, storage, and networking are all being tapped to design and manage the Data Center on Wheels.  For example, Marvell recently announced the first automotive grade system-on-chip (SoC) that integrates the latest Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) capabilities.  Another technology product being offered for automotive use is the InnoDisk SATA 3ME4 Solid-State Drive (SSD) series. Originally designed for industrial systems integrations, these storage drives can withstand the varied temperature ranges of a car, as well as shock and vibration under rugged conditions. Both of these products integrate state-of-the-art encryption to not only keep and store information needed for data-driven vehicles, but keep that information secure from unwanted intrusion.

Marvell and others are working to form standards and adapt secure digital solutions in wireless, connectivity, networking and storage specifically for the automobile, which is even more paramount in self-driving vehicles. Current data center standards, such as Gigabit Ethernet are being developed for automobiles and the industry is stepping up to help make sure that these Data Centers on Wheels are not only safe, but secure.

April 27th, 2017

Challenges of Autonomous Vehicles: How Ethernet in Automobiles Can Overcome Bandwidth Issues in Self-Driving Vehicles

By Nick Ilyadis, VP of Portfolio Technology, Marvell

Drivers are already getting used to what used to be “cool new features,” that have now become “can’t live without” technologies, such as the backup camera, blind spot alert or parking assist. Each of these technologies stream information, or data, within the car, and as automotive technology evolves, more and more features will be added. But when it comes to autonomous vehicles, the amount of technology and data streams coming into the car to be processed increases exponentially. Autonomous vehicles gather multiple streams of information/data from sensors, radar, radios, IR sensors and cameras. This goes beyond the current Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) or In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI). The autonomous car will be acutely aware of its surroundings running sophisticated algorithms that will make decisions in order to drive the vehicle. However, self-driving cars will also be processing vehicle-to-vehicle communications, as well as connecting to a number of external devices that will be installed in the highway of the future, as automotive communication infrastructures develop. All of these features and processes require bandwidth-and a lot of it: Start the car; drive; turn; red light, stop; – PEDESTRIAN – BRAKE! This would be a very bad time for the internal vehicle networks to run out of bandwidth.

Add to the driving functions the simultaneous infotainment streams for each passenger, vehicle Internet capabilities, etc. and the current 100 megabits-per-second (mbps) 100BASE-T1 Ethernet bandwidth used in automotive, is quickly strained. This is paving the way (pun intended) for 1000BASE-T1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) for automotive networks. Ethernet has long been the economical volume workhorse with millions of miles of cabling in buildings the world over. Therefore, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group has endorsed iGbE as the next network bandwidth standard in automotive.

From Car-jacking to Car-hacking—Security Critical

Another major factor for automotive networking is security. In addition to the many technology features and processes needed for driving and entertainment, security is a major concern for cars, especially autonomous cars.  Science Fiction movies where cars are hacked overriding the driver’s capabilities are scary enough, but in real life, would be beyond a nightmare. Automotive security to prevent spyware, whether planted from a rogue mechanic or roving hack, will require strong authentication to protect privacy, and passenger safety. Cars of the future will be able to reject any devices added that aren’t authenticated, as well as any external intrusion through the open communication channels of the vehicle.

This is why companies like Marvell, have taken a leadership role with organizations like IEEE to help create open standards, such as GbE for automotive, to keep moving automotive technologies forward. (See IEEE 2014 Automotive Day presentation by Alex Tan on the Benefits of Designing 1000BASE-T1 into Automotive Architectures http://standards.ieee.org/events/automotive/2014/02_Designing_1000BASE-T1_Into_Automotive_Architectures.pdf.)

Technology to Drive Next-Generation Automotive Networking

Marvell’s Automotive Ethernet Networking technology is capable of taking what used to be the separate domains of the car — infotainment, driver assist, body electronics and control — and connecting them together to provide a high-bandwidth standards-based data backbone for the vehicle. For example, the Marvell 88Q2112 is the industry’s first 1000BASE-T1 automotive Ethernet PHY transceiver compliant with the IEEE 802.3bp 1000BASE-T1 standard. The Marvell 88Q2112 supports the market’s highest in-vehicle connectivity bandwidth and is designed to meet the rigorous EMI requirements of an automotive system. The 1000BASE-T1 standard allows high-speed and bi-directional data traffic and in-vehicle uncompressed 720p30 camera video for multiple HD video streams, including 4K resolution, all over a lightweight, low-cost single pair cable. The Marvell 88Q1010 low-power PHY device supports 100BASE-T1 and compressed 1080p60 video for infotainment, data transport and camera systems.  And finally to round out its automotive networking solutions, Marvell also offers a series of 7-port Ethernet switches.

Harnessing the low cost and high bandwidth of Ethernet brings many advantages to next-generation automotive architecture, including the flexibility to add new applications. In other words, allowing the possibility to build for features that haven’t even been thought up yet. Because while the car of the future may drive itself, it takes a consortium of technology leaders to pave the way.

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March 1st, 2017

Marvell at the Forefront of Connecting the Cars of Tomorrow, Today

By Alex Tan, Director, Automotive Solutions Group

When you sit in a car today, the focal point of the interior is likely an infotainment system. From displaying vehicle diagnostics to parking assistance to enabling multimedia streaming and additional controls such as phone calls, navigation, etc., the infotainment system has become the touchpoint of the in-vehicle connectivity experience.

In order for drivers to take full advantage of these advanced features, internal vehicle data networks need to provide high bandwidth and seamless connectivity so these technologies can effectively communicate with each other. However, with multiple in-vehicle systems using different interfaces and connectivity technologies, how can we bridge the communication to get them to speak the same language?

The IEEE’s Ethernet standards act as the connectivity backbone to seamlessly link the different domains of the car such as infotainment and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Marvell is proud to have played an instrumental role in the development of the IEEE 802.3bp 1000BASE-T1 PHY standard which enables data between in-vehicle systems to be distributed over a flexible, low cost and high bandwidth network. In October 2015, Marvell introduced the 88Q2112 automotive Ethernet physical layer (PHY) transceiver, the industry’s first 1000BASE-T1 automotive Ethernet PHY transceiver based on the IEEE’s draft 1000BASE-T1 spec. Leveraging our advanced wireless and Ethernet technology solutions, the 1000BASE-T1 solution supports uncompressed HD video, ideal for distributing camera and sensor data in ADAS applications. In the infotainment space, gigabit Ethernet over a single unshielded twisted pair copper cable is a logical solution for transporting audio, video and voice data at a higher data rate and resolution. Marvell’s 88Q2112 PHY transceiver enables automakers to use one Ethernet switch to connect the multiple advanced features of tomorrow’s cars. Furthering our commitment to automotive innovation, in April 2016 we opened the Marvell Automotive Center of Excellence (ACE), a first-of-its-kind automotive networking technology development center. Located in Ettlingen, Germany, ACE aims to expand development and education efforts to advance the architecture of future connected, intelligent cars.

We showcased Marvell’s advanced auto connectivity solutions at the 2016 IEEE-SA Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day (E&IP@ATD) in Paris this past September, demonstrating how our technology supports multiple HD video streams with up to 4K resolution. Covering the exciting activities at E&IP@ATD, Tadashi Nezu of Nikkei wrote about our automotive connectivity leadership, noting that Marvell is rapidly coming to the forefront of the market. Nezu also lauded the Company for its early Ethernet development efforts, noting how Marvell quickly developed a solution compliant to the draft IEEE 802.3bp 1000BASE-T1 standard, before the specifications were even finalized.

Earlier this month, we presented our solutions at the heart of the world’s automotive development at the 3rd annual Automotive Ethernet Congress in Munich. Manfred Kunz, head of development at the ACE, spoke about automotive Ethernet security, while Christopher Mash, senior manager of automotive system architecture and field applications, co-presented with Bosch and Continental who shared their experience with the new 1000BASE-T1 technology. We showcased several automotive Ethernet solutions across nine customer booths, including the world’s first 1000Base-T1 Automotive Ethernet system, industry-leading intelligent security on the new 88Q5050 switch and a new platform demonstrating Marvell’s 10Gb capability for automotive.

The event was a success, drawing over 700 attendees, as well as speakers and exhibitors from over 20 countries.

Automotive Ethernet Congress, Munich, Germany

Automotive Ethernet Congress, Munich, Germany

As automotive technological developments continue to advance rapidly and data continues to play a fundamental role in advancing the future of connected cars, we look forward to continue innovating and collaborating with our auto partners to further accelerate car connectivity.

August 2nd, 2016

Marvell Delivers Industry’s First IEEE Gigabit Ethernet For Automotive

By Anil Gercekci, Director of Technical Marketing of Automotive Solutions Group at Marvell

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.

 

Gigabit-Ethernet-Chart

 

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.