Demos highlight Ethernet’s market potential

  • 05-Nov-2014 08:37 EST
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“FlexRay still is nice for some powertrain and safety applications, but it does not have the demand we see for Ethernet,” said Hans Adlkofer, Vice President, Automotive System Group, Infineon Technologies North America.

A number of product introductions at SAE 2014 Convergence highlighted growing industry support for Ethernet. Support from chip makers and tool providers will help expand the infrastructure for the ubiquitous architecture.

Freescale Semiconductors rolled out a development system, the Smart Application Blueprint for Rapid Engineering (SABRE) for infotainment. It’s designed to simplify the deployment of Ethernet Audio Video Bridging (AVB) using Freescale’s i.MX 6 processors.

Broadcom also displayed its chips, which deploy One-Pair Ether-Net (OPEN) technology, which is based on Broadcom’s BroadR-Reach development. The networking scheme is managed by the OPEN Alliance, which now claims more than 230 members. Though automakers often create variations of standards, that’s not expected with Ethernet.

“The auto industry has strict EMC requirements, so I don’t think we’ll see any fragmentation,” said Timothy Lau, Broadcom’s Associate Product Line Director for Automotive Ethernet.

Other chip makers noted that the network is gathering significant momentum. “FlexRay still is nice for some powertrain and safety applications, but it does not have the demand we see for Ethernet,” said Hans Adlkofer of Infineon Technologies North America.

Excelfore, a Fremont, CA, company that specializes in Ethernet AB and automotive cloud computing, rolled out what it said is the first Ethernet AVB camera. “With AVB, everything’s compatible,” said Shrinath Acharya, Excelfore’s CEO. “Data can easily move over a 1 Gbit Ethernet backbone or a 100 Mbit system used in the rest of the vehicle.”

Tool providers also provided support. Intrepid Control Systems, a testing company, highlighted its book on automotive Ethernet. The company also displayed tools that let engineers simulate and interface with Ethernet networks. Cadence also touted its Automotive Ethernet Serial Link Simulation - Communication channel to Convergence.

Design services companies also showed their support at the Detroit show. Tata Consultancy Services demonstrated an Ethernet AVB architecture, while IAV engineers noted that the company is beefing up its Ethernet efforts.

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