In-vehicle networking today and tomorrow

January 17, 2012 // By Harald Schoepp
Since the foundation of the MOST Cooperation in 1998, more than 100 car models have been launched, relying on this infotainment backbone, and the third generation of Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST), MOST150, is about to be launched for mass production. Like always, even before one technology generation is close to its peak, the question arises: What comes next?

In-vehicle infotainment

The future of infotainment networking can be divided into two categories. For the European luxury brands, who have driven the adoption of the MOST standard from the very beginning, the future will for sure look different than for the many followers who are more focused on the mass market than on the high-end premium segment.

As of today, only between 10 and 20 percent of all passenger vehicles are equipped with an infotainment network. At the same time, many car makers who have not been highly focused on infotainment to date, are facing the need to shape up in order to keep pace with the digital world, offering networked applications. For those car makers, it is very important to bet on a technology which is proven and shipping in high volume, offering state-of-the art performance and low price at a minimum risk. The re-use of the MOST50 or MOST150 technology is a rock solid and very straight forward approach, providing a well understood network and taking advantage of the existing MOST specifications, components, software stacks and development and debug tools. The focus is on low cost, low risk and a very fast time to market. The available data rates are more than sufficient for the transmission of even multiple High-Definition channels and the protocol stack which has been developed and debugged for more than 10 years offers almost everything needed.

With the MOST50 UTP electrical physical layer, which has been in production since 2007, even a point-to-point link between a head unit and a DSP audio amplifier can be cheaper than an analogue connection plus a digital control bus.

Looking at the premium car makers, the requirements are a little different. In-vehicle infotainment is about to saturate in terms of new and useful functions and features. Connectivity outside the car (e.g. through LTE or Car-to-X communication) is becoming much more important than pure in vehicle infotainment networking. More

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