After leading the industry into the world of MOST and Linux (Genivi), BMW is raising yet a new leadership banner – this time for the implementation of Ethernet in the car. BMW is certainly not the only car company looking at Ethernet transport for data and video, but the company has made powerful statements at two high profile industry events with a solution developed in partnership with Broadcom that will transform the industry.
First tipped at the Ludwigsburg Fachkongress Elektronik last week. BMW’s solution brings a potentially lower cost, higher speed solution to the thorny challenge of transporting data and video in the car. At Freescale’s Technology Forum this week, the company made yet another presentation of its case for Internet along with a clever technology demonstration integrating a spoon within a twisted-pair connection to make its case for the robustness of the technology. This was hooked up to a dual-core Freescale gateway MCU to show that Ethernet can already be linked into the vehicle network structure.
The case for Ethernet is powerful. BMW uses data from Strategy Analytics to make the case that data volume in the car is increasing rapidly driven by rearseat entertainment, in-car TV and camera-based parking aids. At the same time the average number of network nodes in the average car is also expanding rapidly. In fact, according to BMW, again sourcing SA data in part, the number of Ethernet ports to be shipped worldwide, nearly 800M, in 2010 is only a bit more than the 650M automotive ports shipped in the same period, counting broadband, safety bus, CAN, LIN, and SineBUS etc.
BMW points out that Ethernet is proliferating in a wide range of industries including everything from aviation to industrial automation and telecommunications. That proliferation translates to lower cost – for hardware, software and development – vs. the main alternative, MOST. In spite of increasing support for MOST, the technology remains expensive as do the costs of development and for the engineers with appropriate knowhow.
BMW has been pursuing automotive Ethernet implementation since at least 2005 when it developed Ethernet-based flash software updating for 2008 series vehicles. Also for 2008, BMW brought an Ethernet-based datalink to the market for rearseat entertainment. For model year 2013, the company intends to bring an Ethernet-based videolink to market for a park assist camera solution for the X5.
The development comes from a cooperation with Broadcom – using a version of BroadR-Reach technology for enabling full-duplex operation over a single twisted pair. With BroadR-Reach, Ethernet and IP services can now be deployed at 100Mbps. The next challenge for BMW and its partner are to establish an industry standard and licensing scheme for the new solution. BMW has already made the first steps with IEEE to define a standard for its solution (http://bit.ly/dep3jw).
To achieve its objective of broad industry adoption and correspondingly lowered costs, BMW will be working closely with Broadcom to open up the technology to licensees. BMW says it has already established a clearinghouse strategy and appears to have Broadcom’s support. BMW is already in talks with other auto makers to share the technology to spur its adoption. BMW is keen to avoid the disappointment that has come with the implementation of MOST technology which was not only expensive to develop and deploy but remains so years after wider industry adoption. BMW does not claim to be replacing MOST with Ethernet, but acknowledges that Ethernet is best suited to MOST-related applications.
Global OE Automotive Multimedia and Communications Systems Forecast 2009-2017 -
Joanne Blight - http://tinyurl.com/24n9nz5
Global Automotive OE Audio/Visual (A/V) Systems Forecast 2009-2017 - Joanne Blight - http://tinyurl.com/2g897ax