Broadcom, NXP, Freescale, and Harman have announced the Open Alliance Special Interest Group to drive wide adoption of Ethernet in the automotive industry.
Meanwhile, NXP has licensed Broadcom's BroadR-Reach Ethernet technology for in-vehicle networking.
Major car manufacturers are designing with Ethernet as a high-bandwidth, low-cost networking technology complementary to existing in-vehicle network technologies such as CAN, LIN, LVDS and FlexRay. BMW cars supporting Ethernet are already on the market since 2008.
Broadcom’s BroadR-Reach Ethernet technology can operate over single unshielded twisted pair cabling, enabling it to run over existing in-vehicle networks.
One of the key applications driving Ethernet’s high-bandwidths in vehicles is camera-based security, according to the alliance members.
By networking a series of cameras mounted on the outside of the vehicle, the driver can get a 360-degree view of what's happening around the car displayed via the dashboard. Other high-bandwidth applications that Ethernet could support include networked infotainment.
Another advantage of using Ethernet as an in-vehicle technology is that it is a globally recognized standard that supports IP-based networking. This makes it much easier to adapt existing IP software and applications from the consumer and business markets for automotive use.
"We see Ethernet as the best choice for high-bandwidth in-vehicle networks and believe that BroadR-Reach is the superior technology in this field," said Rob Hoeben, director of marketing and business development for Ethernet, NXP Semiconductors, in a statement. "Based upon the BroadR-Reach IP from Broadcom, we will develop our own automotive-grade PHY products."
The first NXP product samples will be available in 2013.