Is the Semiconductor Industry Fully Prepared for Demands of Next Generation IVN Protocols?

by  Deres Eshete  - 08-04-2015 

We are rapidly reaching a stage where the quantity of electronics incorporated into the average car will be more than half of the car’s total value. Generally a mid-price vehicle will now have somewhere between 50 and 75 electronic control units (ECUs) fitted - approximately twice what such vehicles utilized just ten years ago. However, the communication infrastructure has not developed at the same rate and we are left in a position where the networks are starting to struggle. 



Market analyst firm IC Insights expects the automotive electronics systems market to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% between now and 2019. Ensuring that there is enough bandwidth available to cope with the increasing levels of complexity is going to prove challenging without the implementation of more effective, higher capacity in-vehicle network (IVN) technologies.

Currently the majority of IVNs tend to be based on controller area network (CAN) and local interconnect network (LIN) protocols, but there are a multitude of other standards that are now emerging which might have important roles to play in the near future. Here are the main ones to be aware of:

  • CAN Flexible Datarate (CAN FD) - This shares the same core architecture as CAN, with back compatibility, but supports 8Mbps (8x the standard CAN at 1Mbps).
  • FlexRay - This protocol offers data transfer rates of 10Mbps. Thanks to built-in redundancy and fault tolerance mechanisms it is highly suited to safety-critical automotive applications. There are issues, however, in relation to deployment costs and scalability.

  • Ethernet - This seems to have a very strong case for extensive IVN implementation over the coming years. Already the foundation of a great deal of telecom and data communication infrastructure, it is currently being used in automotive with 100Mbps data transfer rates. The next generation 1Gbps Automotive Ethernet has been in design for the next generation IVN due to be introduced to the market in the next 2-3 years. A combined 120 million Ethernet nodes per year will be deployed in automobiles by 2020 according to forecast data compiled by Strategy Analytics.

  • Media-Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) - This supports 150Mbps data transfer, but has relatively high implementation costs associated with it. It appears likely that Ethernet (which offers similar data rates but is cheaper and simpler to install) will get more traction and effectively marginalize MOST.

The highly sensitive semiconductor devices that are set be used in IVN implementation need adequate protection from the electrical threats that an automotive environment presents - such as electro-magnetic interference (EMI) and electro-static discharge (ESD). ON Semiconductor is collaborating with automobile manufacturers and their tier-1/tier-2 supply partners to provide them with more advanced protection solutions to address forthcoming IVN deployments. ON Semiconductor’s latest family of NUP and ESD series protection include the all new NUP2125 dual line bus protection for CANFD with very low capacitance, low clamping, small packaging and ESD protection up to ±30kV as well as immunity from ISO pulses.



Tags:Automotive, Circuit Protection
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