Audio bus technology takes on MOST, Ethernet AVB

October 21, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Analog Devices (ADI) has developed an audio signal distribution system for automotive use that could emerge in some environments as a strong competitor to established infotainment bus systems like MOST and Ethernet AVB.

It reads like the dream of an infotainment system designer: ADI's Automotive Audio Bus (A2B) promises to reduce the weight of the cable loom by up to 75%, minimise connector size and replace bulky wiring systems through a simple unshielded twisted pair cable. Nevertheless, A2B transports high-quality audio signals over 32 discrete channels to any place in the car interior (well, at least as it is less than 10 metres away from the centre stack). Its signal transport is fully deterministic - and by the way, it also supplies the required power for the end nodes. All over a simple UTP cable. But this is not all - the system also eliminates the need for costly processing units and large memories associated to existing solutions.

While already filed as a trademark in April 2013, ADI now has introduced the first real product for its Automotive Audio Bus. The AD2410 transceiver is a cost-effective audio transceiver, offering a bandwidth of 50 Mbps. It supports all popular audio sampling rates and enables daisy-chaining of multiple slave nodes. In contrast to most existing digital bus architectures, the system delay is deterministic. For these reasons, the AD2410 is suited for time-critical applications such as active noise cancellation, in-car communications and electronic microphone beam forming.

Besides reducing cabling complexity, the device reduces the BOM for audio systems in providing a phantom power capability for all slave nodes connected, doing away with local power supplies. It also meets all relevant ESD, EMI and EMC requirements for automotive use. Extensive diagnostic capabilities enable the identification of system-related failures. The AD2410 is fully configurable using ADI's SigmaStudio graphical development tool which minimizes development time and ensures fast time to market. And, yes, it is automotive qualified according to AEC-Q100.

ADI reports that Panasonic Automotive of Amercia is one of the first users for the A2B technology. First OEM deployments are expected in 2016.

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