The New Data Highway in the Car: IAV Advancing Automotive Ethernet

18.03.2016 // At the Automotive Ethernet Congress in Munich, the company showed how the high-speed data bus permits new vehicle functions – such as innovative infotainment and autonomous driving

The CAN bus is showing its age: New sensors, such as cameras and LIDAR, as well as new infotainment services, like video streams, are overstretching the tried and tested data highway in the car. The future will demand more of a multiple-lane superhighway that moves the bits far more quickly. Automotive Ethernet now provides manufacturers and component suppliers with a suitable candidate – at the moment with a maximum data rate of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) which in future is set to rise to one gigabit per second (Gbps). This will also benefit autonomously driven cars which will need to process large quantities of data in a short time too on account of their extensive driving environment sensor system.

BMW is among the pioneers of the new technology and is already using it in production vehicles – so it’s no wonder that the Automotive Ethernet Congress takes place in Munich. Now staged for the second time (February 3 and 4, 2016), IAV was at the event with a booth. Through close cooperation between the Cockpit & Interior and Vehicle Dynamics divisions, the company was able to present Ethernet demonstrators presenting the latest key technologies in the field of automotive Ethernet. The message was clear: IAV understands the ins and outs of automotive Ethernet – from the wiring to future infotainment platforms.

Demonstrator with a 100 Mbps data rate

Even the wiring is far different from the CAN bus: Whereas all devices there are connected to a common bus, automotive Ethernet uses a star-shaped topology with a central switch – i.e. the same principle that is familiar from home and office networking. Among other aspects, this makes it possible to move data through the network at a faster or slower rate depending on their priority. One work focus at IAV is to qualify the physical layer: With automotive Ethernet, data flow through unshielded twisted pair cables. Data rates of such high speed raise completely new questions in relation to EMC, measurement, diagnostics and service quality. IAV was able to show the performance spectrum in this domain using a demonstrator and an automotive-compatible switch module providing data rates of 100 Mbps.

The central module for service-oriented communication over automotive Ethernet is the SOME/IP (Service-Oriented Middleware over IP) middleware which is also part of the AUTOSAR specification. It can be used for presenting and finding services in the network – such as a control unit that measures current vehicle speed and can communicate it to other users. IAV showed two different demonstrators at the congress: An AUTOSAR platform which, in addition to SOME/IP communication, also handles diagnostics over the Internet Protocol (IP), and a platform with a Linux-based multimedia control unit. A further key technology was used for automotive Ethernet: The platform for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) which is being advanced by the GENIVI alliance of OEMs and industry partners. The IAV demonstrator can handle the entire SOME/IP communication with the integrated media player. Both demonstrators were controlled from a graphic user interface implemented in CANoe.Ethernet.

“For IAV, it was a very successful two days in Munich”, says Torsten Herrmann, Senior Project Manager, summing up. “We had many lively and interesting discussions with trade visitors. And the demonstrators presented also let us show that IAV is in full command of all the basic principles in automotive Ethernet and can also produce key technologies, such as SOME/IP on AUTOSAR and Linux/GENIVI platforms.” At its booth in Munich, IAV successfully presented itself as a competent partner for developing Ethernet control units ready for volume production.

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