I attended two consecutive automotive Ethernet events near Stuttgart last week. Judging by the level of participation automotive Ethernet is really taking off.
The first event was the OPEN Alliance face-to-face meeting which 150 people attended. The main purpose of the OPEN Alliance is to promote standards for the operation of 100M and 1G Ethernet PHYs over a single twisted pair (STP) of copper cable in automotive environments. Broadcom has brought a 100M Ethernet automotive PHY to market and NXP is going to be a second source for this. For 1G there is now the IEEE 802.3bp task force developing a standard for an automotive STP PHY. The OPEN Alliance did much of the groundwork that enabled this project to get initiated. Single twisted pair cabling has cost and weight advantages over other forms of cabling.
The second event followed on immediately after the OPEN Alliance meeting and was focused on Automotive Ethernet technology and was not limited to members of the OPEN Alliance. 450 people came to this event to listen to presentations, network with industry executives, and demonstrate their own technology in the exhibition hall. BMW, a prominent member of the Ethernet Alliance, showed off their new BMW X5 which is the first production car to incorporate 100M STP Ethernet. It uses Ethernet to connect four cameras to a central display unit.
The exhibition hall contained many demonstrations of Ethernet technology from different vendors working together. This is one of the main advantages of Ethernet, there is a wide ecosystem of support for it and it is a well understood technology. NXP demonstrated inter-operability between their 100M STP PHY and the Broadcom PHY. Marvel demonstrated a 100M PHY conformant to the IEEE 100BASE-TX standard running over two twisted pairs of copper cable and hardened for automotive environments. KDPOF demonstrated a 1G PHY running over MOST-type plastic optical fiber cables using Avago transceivers. Because these PHYs all use standard media independent interfaces they will work with any Ethernet controllers.
Cadence had a booth at which we talked about the good support Cadence has for automotive Ethernet in its IP offering, Palladium verification acceleration platform and Sigrity board design tools.
Arthur Marris - October 2013
--IEEE 802.3 -- Standardizing the Next Generation of Ethernet PHYs
--One Oil Change and Update my Car to the Latest Software Patch, Please!