Modern automobiles now incorporate a plethora of sensors. Multiple video cameras generate streams needed for surround video applications. LIDAR, used for image recognition in self-driving mode generates 3D voxel maps, requiring large amounts of memory and bandwidth. Even traditional digital media hardware may require moving 4K video streams to multiple panels in the back seats of higher-end vehicles. Taken together, up to five terabytes of data may be created and moved within a modern car in a single day.
Bandwidth requirements increase as cars move towards SAE Level 4 (mostly autonomous) and level 5 (fully autonomous) driving. Automotive networks must support high-bandwidth to handle both in-vehicle information (IVI) and data streams needed for self-driving or related automotive driver assistance systems (ADAS). Self-driving vehicles also require significant redundancy to ensure safe operation. A redundant network enables quick identification of switch or processor failures, then compensates by rerouting network traffic.
Moving that much data requires significantly greater bandwidth than has been common in recent automotive applications. Automotive interface standards have also been focused on either sending control messages (CAN bus) or handling digital media for in-vehicle entertainment systems (MOST). Newer cars may also have integrated gigabit Ethernet but GbE can’t handle the bandwidth needed for the upcoming generation of automotive vehicles.
That’s why Aquantia has taken its 10Gbe technology into automotive. The company has launched three Multi-Gig products which aim to improve data throughput in next generation automobiles, with their plethora of sensors. These comprise a range of Multi-Gig capable products, including a PHY only (AQV107), MAC only (AQVC100 PCIe controller), and an integrated MAC+PHY (AQVC107 PCIe controller). These products have passed the Automotive Electronics Council AEC Q100 stress tests for integrated circuits.
Moving to 10G Ethernet also enables simplification of the internal car network. One twisted pair harness can handle all the traffic needed for a variety of vehicle applications, eliminating the need for multiple networks. This reduces complexity and improves reliability over the long haul. A single network eliminates multiple threat vectors and can be made more secure.
The automotive ecosystem remains complex, with multiple OEMs supplying components and entire subsystems to car manufacturers, who integrate them into the final platforms. Cooperation with other suppliers becomes essential. Aquantia has teamed up with Molex to deliver a complete 10 Gbps automotive grade network. NVIDIA, which announced its DRIVE Xavier and Drive Pegasus autonomous driving compute platforms at the 2018 CES show, has adopted Aquantia AQcelerate products to support the high bandwidth necessary for its Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving