UNH-IOL, OPEN Alliance target 100 Mbps Ethernet for cars

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) in partnership with the OPEN Alliance Special Interest Group (SIG) on Monday unveiled the Automotive Ethernet Consortium.

This consortium is charged with testing and promoting BroadR-Reach, a 100 Mbps Ethernet connectivity specification for the automotive industry. UNH-IOL will be the first lab to conduct tests on the emerging standard.

While still in the development stage, the goal of the BroadR-Reach standard is set on enabling multiple in-vehicle systems to "simultaneously access and share information over a single pair, unshielded cable."

So what's the benefit to automobile manufacturers?

Instead of having a number of closed applications in their vehicles, a carmaker member such as BMW or Hyundai could have one standard Ethernet network to provide their consumers with a host of new applications and devices, including surround view parking assistance, rear-view cameras and collision avoidance systems.

With the BroadR-Reach standard, automotive manufacturers could enable multiple in-vehicle systems to simultaneously access and share information over a single pair, unshielded cable. Broadcom, the developer of the BroadR-Reach standard and a founding member of the OPEN Alliance, said that because the standard uses one pair of UTP cables and can possibly use the same connectors and cables used by other networking technologies in card, it can cut connectivity by up to 80 percent and cabling weight by up to 30 percent.

Already, a number of semiconductor companies building BroadR-Reach standard products conducted their first round of conformance testing at the UNH-IOL. In addition to conformance testing, the lab is developing interoperability specifications for the BroadR-Reach standard in-conjunction with the OPEN Alliance.

Of course, BroadR-Reach is not the only group pursuing a short-range copper standard. In March, the IEEE launched a study group to examine how to build a reduced twisted copper pair Gigabit Ethernet solution that it said would accommodate the automotive, industrial, and avionics industries.  

For more:
- see the release

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