DETROIT The Media Oriented Systems Transport (Most) Cooperation, creator of a fiber-optic multimedia bus standard favored by luxury automakers, announced at Convergence 2000 that it will drop its royalty fee requirements.
The announcement is intended to bring about broader acceptance of the Most bus by the worldwide automotive community. Most is currently a leading candidate for endorsement by the Automotive Multimedia Interface Consortium (AMI-C), a group of 12 of the world's biggest automakers, as a high-speed network bus for automotive multimedia applications such as CD players, cell phones, video systems and in-car PCs.
The network bus described by the Most standard offers a speed of 24.8 Mbits/second. That makes it about 100 times faster than controller-area network (CAN) buses, which are typically used in power-train applications.
As a result, Most is seen as a technology that can meet the high bandwidth requirements of video systems and cell phones. It was developed by a consortium led by DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Oasis Silicon Systems (Karlsruhe, Germany) and Becker Automotive Systems (Karlsbad, Germany).
'Free and open'
AMI-C is currently considering Most for the second phase of its specification, which is expected to be released in 2002. The consortium of automotive giants also considered Most for its first release, but hesitated because of a charter that called for all endorsed technologies to be "free and open." AMI-C later backed off that position slightly, saying that it could accept royalty fees but wouldn't endorse technologies that weren't publicly available.
Up until last week, Most license fees were 0.3 euros (about 30 cents) per device. The founding partners have waived that fee, however, and say that they've cleared the way to permanently make it royalty-free.
Whether that decision will affect its potential endorsement by AMI-C is uncertain. AMI-C members say they still want the Most standard to be open.
"For AMI-C, the fees were not so much an issue as was the proprietary nature of certain parts of the standard," noted Edward Nelson, a system team leader for AMI-C. "Our goal is to publish the spec as an open standard. But we can't do that if part of it is proprietary." Nelson said that Most opened the basic core of its specification to public scrutiny but failed to publish certain application programming interfaces.
The leaders of Most promise, however, that the entire specification will eventually be made public. "The specifications will be put on the Web site as soon as they are proven out," said Rainer König, an electrical and electronics telematics engineer for DaimlerChrysler and a member of Most. "We want the systems to be perfectly compatible, and we don't want technical problems after we publish the specification."