Frequently asked questions about automotive Ethernet include its specific applications inside a car and whether it has enough bandwidth to meet ADAS requirements. There’s also concern about Broadcom’s intellectual property, and most important, which car OEMs -- other than BMW -- are already using Ethernet. We sat down with Timothy Lau, director of automotive at Broadcom.
EE Times: Besides BMW, who else in the auto industry is on board with the use of Ethernet in their cars?
Timothy Lau: Based on our direct engagement with automotive OEMs and Tier One’s, we see multiple OEMs developing Ethernet network solutions based on BroadR-Reach technology. Beyond the 2014 and 2015 BMW X5, those that are public now include the 2015 Jaguar Land Rover XJ and the 2015 Volkswagen Passat.
EE Times: For what specific applications are they using Ethernet in their models?
Lau: BMW has begun using automotive Ethernet to connect cameras to the optional surround-view system electronic control unit in the BMW X5. The Jaguar Land Rover is using automotive Ethernet in its infotainment network. The Volkswagen Passat is using Ethernet for a parking assistant. The Passat is a good example that illustrates BroadR-Reach is now rapidly moving into mass-market cars.
EE Times: What’s prompting a car maker to use BroadR-Reach for parking assist?
Lau: For parking assist, cost is the driving force. For example, car makers are adding several surround-view cameras in addition to a soon-to-be mandated backup camera. Previously, they used analog cameras, connecting them via LVDS [low-voltage differential signaling] over coaxial cables. Now as they transition from analog to digital cameras, BroadR-Reach turns out to be a less costly solution. BroadR-reach lets multiple in-vehicle systems simultaneously access information over unshielded single twisted pair cable.
EE Times: I’ve always thought the infotainment network inside a car would be the first place where BroadR-Reach would move in. But aside from Land Rover, we haven't seen many examples yet.