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July 21st, 2015

Glimpses of the Connected Car of the Future

By Alex Tan, Director, Automotive Solutions Group

We’ve already seen integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in cars and applications integrated into the user console. We’ve also seen Google’s fleet of prototype autonomous or “self-driving” cars. But a car that can fix itself? That’s just one of the many new transformations on the horizon when the Internet of Things meets the Connected Car. We will explore how connectivity will drive transformation in automotive infotainment technology, much like smartphones transformed telecommunications.

The idea of a connected car is all about making data available, both within the car and with the external world. For example, car manufacturers will be able to improve automobile quality by getting real-time data from individual vehicles and providing corrective updates when problems are identified. In addition, auto manufacturers are looking at completely new ways to use connectivity to make vehicles safer or improve the functionality of the car after it leaves the dealership. Tesla is a good example of this having recently introduced a firmware update that actually added new features, such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection. Imagine having the latest automotive features available to you AFTER you purchase the car. Consumers will no longer experience automotive obsolescence the second they leave the lot. It also allows auto manufacturers to strengthen ties with their customers.

auto-diagram

There are also substantial changes in store for the internal vehicle data networks. Current systems use a combination of proprietary low-speed or single-purpose communication busses. Next-generation architectures are converting to an IP-based network using Ethernet hardware. This allows massive amounts of data to be easily sent between the various domains inside the vehicle and with external devices. Examples of this type of data include information from the body electronics components, commands on the control systems, multimedia information from the infotainment system and camera/sensor data for the Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS). For instance, video and application data from smart phones and the Internet can be distributed within the car and car information and video data can be sent outside of the vehicle and used in a variety of ways.  Examples might include combining an IP-based vehicle’s camera data, alarm system and LTE to get uploads of pictures surrounding the car when the alarm is triggered. Or, with self-driving cars, who needs the valet? Vehicles can unload passengers and then head to a designated parking area awaiting summons from a smartphone for pick up. (Question: Do I tip my car?)

In Europe, an initial set of technical specifications for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications, based on IEEE802.11P Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE), has already been created. The primary goal of this technology is to reduce traffic accidents and improve traffic throughput by allowing cars to communicate with each other in the case of accidents and congestion. V2V could also be used to improve traffic control, collect tolls or aid in police enforcement. Widespread adoption is needed for this to work, as well as addressing privacy concerns.

These are just some of the ways car connectivity will change the driving experience. Marvell is leveraging its strength in wireless and Ethernet technology to develop the latest high-quality AECQ100-qualified automotive products and solutions. To see what’s coming in automotive infotainment, wired/wireless connectivity and next-generation architecture platforms, join us at the 2015 IEEE-SA Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day that will be held in Yokohama, Japan October 27-28 — because when you see the latest in automotive connectivity semiconductor technology, you will get a glimpse of the Connected Cars of the future.

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