With the rise of smart cars, there will need to be a number of accommodations for GPS, WiFi hotspots, smartphone chargers, music docks, and more. And while your home might do fine with 75 ft Ethernet cables, and the average office depends on 500 ft Ethernet cables, automakers have unique needs.
In addition to standard HDMI cables and standard HDMI with Ethernet, there is a third HDMI type on the market: automotive HDMI with Ethernet.
Automotive Ethernet is used to connect a vehicle to an online network in order to support more complex computing that includes bandwidth requirements, latency requirements, synchronization, and network management requirements. Additionally, they are also fitted to prevent loosening due to vibrations during vehicle operation.
Just last year, the number of vehicles with automotive Ethernet began picking up. BMW, Jaguar, and Volkswagen all now have vehicles on the market that are equipped with the feature.
The feature was referred to as a “hidden trend” by Electronic Design at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. In 2014, when automotive Ethernet was first announced, it was reported that many cars would have 50 to 60 Ethernet ports by 2020, and even some base model vehicles might have at least 10.
Ethernet cables are far more desirable over traditional vehicle wiring. Reports show that traditional harness wiring can make up 50% of a vehicle’s labor costs, so a simpler connection that is able to accommodate evolving features is preferred.
Automotive Ethernet cables are not defined by standards such as cat5 cables or higher performing cat6 cables but exist in a category of their own. The cables are comprised of a dual-wire twisted configuration in order to meet the vehicle’s performance requirements.
“Automakers are using more and more traditional telecom and IT technology,” said Spirent Communications Automotive Business Development Director Thomas Schultze. “It is driven by connectivity, but also through all the new safety enhancements. And overall, everything leads to autonomous driving.”
What once seemed like a sci-fi dream, autonomous vehicles will soon be hitting the roads, enabled with a number of driver-assist applications connected by automotive Ethernet.
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