TORONTO — The MIPI Alliance is harnessing its horsepower developing interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries and applying it to the growing opportunity presented by automotive.
Its new birds of a feather (BoF) group pulls together OEMs, suppliers and other industry experts to solicit industry input to enhance existing or develop new interface specifications for automotive applications. This includes data link requirements between surround sensors, electronic control units, actors and displays for driver assistance and autonomous driving projects beyond 2020.
In a telephone interview with EE Times, MIPI Alliance Managing Director Peter Lefkin said its members are already leveraging specifications from the mobile space for automotive applications. “MIPI primarily focuses on mobile, but that doesn't mean the specifications aren't moving into other industries," Lefkin said.
Companies already participating in MIPI Alliance's Automotive BoF Group include Cadence Design Systems Inc., Microchip Technology Inc., Intel's Mobileye, NXP Semiconductors, Tektronix Inc., Teledyne LeCroy, Synopsys, Inc., Toshiba Corp. and Western Digital, among many others.
Lefkin noted Jedec's UFS standard for automotive includes two MIPI specification references, and that MIPI already partners with other organizations where it makes sense.
MIPI Alliance's industry-standard interfaces already enable a wide variety of automotive applications, including collision mitigation and avoidance, infotainment and navigation, added Matt Ronning, chair of the automotive BoF. For example, automotive manufacturers already use MIPI specifications to develop and implement applications for passive and active safety, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as the Camera Serial Interface 2, Display Serial Interface and Display Serial Interface 2. These are ideal for a variety of low- and high-bandwidth applications that integrate components such as cameras, displays, biometric readers, microphones and accelerometers, he said.
Automotive manufacturers already use MIPI specifications to develop and implement applications for passive and active safety, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
For short-distance communications of less than 0.3 meters, the MIPI CSI specification is the most widely adopted in automotive camera applications and MIPI DSI is getting increasingly adopted. Ronning said the automotive industry's stricter standards for safety and reliability mean MIPI's electromagnetic interference (EMI) interfaces are well-suited for highly sensitive, mission-critical automotive applications.
Ronning said that with 90 million cars being made a year, most of which carry eight to 10 cameras, the various components make automotive the second largest market next to smartphones. “That's what's driving interest from semiconductor and component manufacturers," Ronning said.
There's also a strong push from governments around to improve fuel economy and foster electrical vehicles, as well as more intelligence in the car.
“That tends to drive toward more sensors. Customers are demanding more safety, which also means more electronics, and electronics means shipping more data around," said Ronning.
The automotive BoF group's initial focus will be to examine how MIPI specifications can potentially be extended to support communication link distances up to 15 meters, and at the same time support the high data rates associated with cameras and radar sensors for autonomous driving systems. “The complexities it presents are different than mobile," Ronning said.
Another goal is to make sure customers don't get locked into a single source for any particular technology, said Ronning, and the BoF Group cuts across all aspects of MIPI, as well as including the top automotive OEMs. “There's strong interest in an interface specification that is standard and can be supported by multiple vendors and interoperable vendor to vendor," Ronning added.
—Gary Hilson is a general contributing editor with a focus on memory and flash technologies for EE Times.