SAN JOSE — In hopes of bringing advanced automotive features such as park-assist and blind-spot detection to economy cars, Freescale Semiconductor has teamed up with Broadcom to develop a compact MCU integrated with BroadR-Reach automotive Ethernet PHY.
BroadR-Reach is an Ethernet physical layer standard designed for use in automotive connectivity applications. It's promoted by Open Alliance SIG, which has members that include Broadcom, Freescale, NXP, BMW, GM, Renault, and Daimler.
Freescale's new chip, designated as Qorivva MPC5606E, is "the industry's first fully-integrated, packaged microcontroller and physical layer transceiver solution for use in 360-degree camera systems," according to Allan McAuslin, Freescale's Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) product manager.
The chip, using BroadR-Reach technology, allows multiple cameras to send compressed video data simultaneously over an Ethernet in-vehicle network, displaying them on a center stack screen.
Video Over Ethernet
Key to the size and performance of the Qorivva MPC5606E is Broadcom's BroadR-Reach automotive Ethernet PHY. The integrated Ethernet solution enables compact vision compression and rapid transmission of video data throughout the vehicle, according to the two companies.
Compressed vs. uncompressed
It's important to note that there are two ways to implement surround-camera systems in a car. One is to broadcast uncompressed video data from cameras over metal-screened low-voltage differential signaling cable. Another is to compress video, package it for Ethernet broadcast and transmit video data over twisted-pair cable.
For self-parking applications, a car, using a combination of cameras and ultrasonic technologies, makes independent decisions and takes control of the vehicle. For such applications, the video stream is not compressed, explained Freescale's McAuslin.
But if video data from multiple cameras is sent just to be displayed on an in-vehicle screen for a driver to see, rather than for the vehicle to take control, video data can be compressed.
Just to be clear, in such a case, the system enables park-assist, rather than self-parking.