Autonomous Vehicle Engineering - September 2021 - 22

Connected Vehicle
Ethernet Backbones will
Support Many Branches
Ethernet is going mainstream, but CAN and other networks still will be needed
as software and electronics do more.
by Terry Costlow
Ethernet is displacing CAN (controller area
networks) as the primary architecture for automotive
networks, but a host of other communications protocols
are helping reduce cost and complexity. Multiple
consumer networks are being used to carry input from
sensors and other devices to Ethernet backbones that
transfer huge volumes of data to centralized controllers.
The ubiquitous network used in homes and businesses
brings speed and low cost along with integration
in both microchips and design tools. That's making it
the mainstay in emerging vehicle architectures.
" We expect Ethernet to be the 'bus of the future'
and provide the primary interconnect for modern
vehicles, " said Danny Shapiro, senior director of automotive
at NVIDIA. " This will replace most previous
buses and help OEMs realize a software-defined
vehicle that is scalable and updatable, with the potential
to greatly reduce the cost and weight associated
with legacy cabling harnesses. "
However, Ethernet won't totally displace communication
technologies that have been used for years.
CAN and LIN will continue as links for many devices
and modules, while a range of technologies, many
coming from consumer products, are being used to
handle data from the many sensors and actuators
found in modern vehicles. For example, the cell-phone
industry's MIPI standard is seeing usage as a link for
cameras and radar. Still other standards meet other
requirements in bandwidth and speed. Many protocols
will be used to address needs ranging from highvolume
cameras, radar and lidar to low-speed nodes
such as window and seat motors.
" Beside classic CAN, other buses like LIN and
Ethernet, other short/long distance communication
links have emerged in the last decades such as the
MIPI standards, " said Davide Santo, ST Automotive
Group's microcontrollers business unit director. " The
recent Automotive Serdes Alliance complements and
enriches the pre-existing proprietary solutions. All of
these specific solutions address the increasing needs
for reliable, safe, secure data highways for demanding
heavy-payload applications, especially in the space of
semi/autonomous driving. "
While Ethernet's broad knowledge base is a key
Ethernet will be a mainstay
for high-speed vehicle communications.
driving force, so too is the auto industry's experience with
CAN. It's increasingly being seen as a low-speed solution,
but an updated version of CAN is expected to see use in
some areas where large packet sizes are common. That
will make it useful across a fairly broad spectrum.
22 September 2021
AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE ENGINEERING
NVIDIA

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering - September 2021

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