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New Cars Require Multiple Antennas

The new features of automotive interiors come at a cost of multiple sets of wireless information and content being delivered transparently to the driver. In the past, this was at most two antennas — AM and FM for the entertainment system. Modern vehicles need a few more antennas, and the count is growing.

A typical high-end car today has AM, FM, satellite radio, TPM, remote entry, remote start, in-vehicle TV, DAB, GPS, Bluetooth, collision avoidance radar, parking assist radar and electronic toll collection. Next-gen vehicles will add GSM and LTE, in addition to WiFi, specialized car-to-car communications, and additional systems for automated drivers assist.

One of the challenges of these systems is the directionality of the antenna and its ability to pick up the signal with the vehicle facing different directions. The nominal solution for this issue is the use of a diversity system that employs multiple antennas and has circuitry to determine which one has the strongest signal — and then use that one

However, with the large number of antennas needed in the system (over 15 now and quickly approaching 20), initial placement of these antennas in a non-interfering manner on the vehicle is a big challenge. This is even before the duplicating of the antennas to support the diversity requirements.

The antennas are still passive, but have migrated from mast/whip antennas, to glass-mount antennas, to the new generation bee-sting antenna designs and the shark-fin modules. These are being used with a combination of the glass-mount antennas and new distributed antennas. As the frequency diversity increases more shapes of antennas are needed, as shown in the table below (courtesy of Intech):

Companies like Delphi are developing new multi-antenna modules that fit into the new standard shark-fin shape and can address several of the RF requirements, including soon-to-be released LTE support. (Figure below, courtesy of Continental Corp.)

The new antenna modules work in combination with a full transceiver module. The transceiver can be mounted in the roof panels, or the trunk deck near the antenna, or separated by a distance as required by design and connected via cable. (Figure below, courtesy of Delphi.)

These transceivers are different from non-automotive models, since they support CAN, FlexRay, and LIN, in addition to WiFi, for Ethernet management. The network support includes the standard VPN, security, firewall, and router functions.

To date, the antenna systems in cars have been designed in as an add-on to the primary vehicle design. With the increasing use of RF systems coming into play for in-car communication, and the current trend of adding features wirelessly to reduce weight by not adding wires, the number of frequencies and antennas is increasing. Soon, the antenna placement and signal distribution in the vehicle design will be one of the key design considerations, on par with the safety and aesthetic design aspects.

Editor's note: This blog was originally posted to EDN.

67 comments on “New Cars Require Multiple Antennas

  1. FLYINGSCOT
    October 12, 2013

    I found your article fascinating.  I never imaginged there would be so many antennae in a car but it is obvious once you think about it.  How many discrete antennae are in the new multi modules and how many discrete transceivers or is it possible to have one set that does all frequencies (I doubt it is possible)?

  2. Susan Fourtané
    October 13, 2013

    Flyingscot, 

    You would be surprised to know how much design manufacting is changing, along with components, and materials. Some days ago I was at the Design Museum in London, (I am writing an article about it for EBN) where there is an exhibition on new manufacturing techniques, and their applications in different industries. 

    Multiple antennas in a car follows the need of increasing connectivity between the car, and everything else, making the car a capsule of tranportation that is not any more isolated from the rest of our life. 

    -Susan

  3. _hm
    October 13, 2013

    Will they soon amalgamate few of antennas and get rid few of them?

    Will all automaker will follow some industry/ieee standard to reduce cost of antenna for end user?

     

  4. Wale Bakare
    October 13, 2013

    >>Will all automaker will follow some industry/ieee standard to reduce cost of antenna for end user?<<

    I am not sure about your question. But emerging opportunities  in automotive industry would spur supply chain so also, drive competition within OEMs.

  5. Ashu001
    October 13, 2013

    Wale,

    We are about to see an Insane Amount of Automation Globally in the Auto space.

    Do watch this Video on how the Tesla Car is Manufactured in America(produced by Wired).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_lfxPI5ObM

    I am very sure this will spur Tremendous amounts of Innovation in the Supply Chain.

    Question,is will this Innovation be beneficial(or not) for the World today?

    Unfortunately I really don't have the right answers today.

    At a time when Unemployment is Extremely-Extremely High Globally maybe we are not making the Right choices here.

     

     

  6. Wale Bakare
    October 13, 2013

    >>At a time when Unemployment is Extremely-Extremely High Globally maybe we are not making the Right choices here<<

    In your own opinion what do you think of the convergence of communications of vehicle, physical systems and mobile devices? Are they by any means disrupting other fields by contributing to unemployment? Surely supply chain is going to be the biggest beneficiary?

  7. Wale Bakare
    October 13, 2013

    >>I am very sure this will spur Tremendous amounts of Innovation in the Supply Chain<<

    No doubt about it, i can categorically say that this's currently happening in my place.

  8. Adeniji Kayode
    October 13, 2013

    @Flyingscot,

    I believe with time that would be a possibility.

  9. Ashu001
    October 14, 2013

    Wale,

    Not at all surprising.

    All these various new technologies get melded together in ways which one can't even fathom/Imagine today.

    That's just the way it is.

    I am sure we will continue to be amazed by what all can happen every single day through these convergences.

     

  10. t.alex
    October 14, 2013

    FLYINGSCOT,

    Perhaps for car environment, i think it is ok to have multiple transceivers instead of trying to compress all the functions into 1. This is because the space constraint is not as stringent as the mobile environment.

  11. Ashu001
    October 14, 2013

    Wale,

    The very fact that this will lead to Driver-less Cars itself should be a very worrying sign.

    Maybe not a big issue in America/Europe but in most of Asia and Africa a lot of people make their Living by working as Chaffeurs/Drivers.

    Can you imagine what will happen if they Don't have work thanks to this innovation?

    Frightening.

    Really frightening.

  12. prabhakar_deosthali
    October 14, 2013

    I believe , there is a lot of scope here to reduce the number of antennas. Can a common career system be developed which will be able to carry all the required signals in a multiplexed manner or may be  a packet switched network which can have all the required signals in digitized formats?

    This surely is a  challenge for innovators in automotive electronics

  13. ITempire
    October 15, 2013

    Interesting article Pallab. I am confident as everyone should be that the designers of the vehicle will work a way out for fitting these multiple antennas without affecting the look of the car. However, my concern is that the more communicaton technologies are increasing in the cars, the risk of accidents is increasing as the attention of the drivers is diverting.

  14. ITempire
    October 15, 2013

    Prabharkar, good idea. I am sure this will be in consideration by the manufacturers providing communications equipment to the vehicle manufacturers. It is way better solution than finding out ways to fit 20 antennas in a way that none interfere with each others' signals.

  15. ITempire
    October 15, 2013

    t.alex

     “i think it is ok to have multiple transceivers instead of trying to compress all the functions into 1. This is because the space constraint is not as stringent as the mobile environment.”

    As we have now inserted quad-core processors in smartphones of 6 inches, we will find a way to accomodate all the transceivers in a compact manner. However, I will disagree with you as I think that car manufacturers will try to find a solution to fit all into 1 so as to resolve the space constraint even if it is not a big problem.

  16. t.alex
    October 15, 2013

    WaqasAltaf, 

    yes that can be a good point.. What can be the advantage of fitting all transceivers into 1?

  17. Daniel
    October 16, 2013

    Pallab, now the new generation cars are equipped with lots of communication system and satellite guidance system. So the need of human-driver intervention is very less. What happens if the signals get collapsed at different frequency?

  18. Daniel
    October 16, 2013

    “The very fact that this will lead to Driver-less Cars itself should be a very worrying sign.”

    Ashish, Google already started innovation with driver less cars. I think the car navigation is controlled through GPS and satellite system. I think such drivers less cars are suitable only for countries have good, straight roads.

  19. Wale Bakare
    October 17, 2013

    I think Google's strategy is working well for now and by the time driverless vehicles gain full commercialization worldwide, somehow would instigate improvement in some of the places with bad roads.

  20. Ashu001
    October 17, 2013

    Wale,

    But are you sure that this strategy will benefit Society as a Whole?

    I am not so sure.

  21. Wale Bakare
    October 17, 2013

    There's growing in uncertainty in minds of people but yet demand for vehicles equipped with communication and nagivation systems would still be there.

  22. Daniel
    October 17, 2013

    “I think Google's strategy is working well for now and by the time driverless vehicles gain full commercialization worldwide, somehow would instigate improvement in some of the places with bad roads.”

    Wale, I think Google had tested the vehicle on ideal test condition. Before commercialization, they have to test it at different scenarios like highly traffic roads with S and C curves having zig- zag roads.

  23. Daniel
    October 17, 2013

    “But are you sure that this strategy will benefit Society as a Whole? I am not so sure.”

    Ashish, the primary observation is most of the drivers will loose their job.

  24. ITempire
    October 18, 2013

    t.alex, if those transceivers are visible, the look of the car will get affected. If the transceivers are fitted all into 1, this won't be a problem. Designers will prefer a compact solution in my opinion.

  25. Ashu001
    October 18, 2013

    Jacob,

    Yes That was my Primary fear too.

    Problem is we are not Generating Sufficent Jobs today to make up for the Catastrophic Losses that will be inflicted on Society if we Its a automate Cars fully.

    Its a Recipe for Social Disaster.

     

  26. Ashu001
    October 18, 2013

    Wale,

    I am not at all Surprised,As Long as Capital Remains so cheap compared to labor thanks to Artifical Liquidity pumped in by Global Central Bankers,this will always be the case.

    Do check these articles out to get a sense of the way Things are about to change(and not always for the Better).

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-02/rio-replacing-train-drivers-paid-like-u-s-surgeons.html

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324144304578624221804774116

    Frightening for Sure!

     

  27. Daniel
    October 18, 2013

    'Problem is we are not Generating Sufficent Jobs today to make up for the Catastrophic Losses that will be inflicted on Society if we Its a automate Cars fully. Its a Recipe for Social Disaster.'

    Ashish, it can be in reverse too. We had seen similar situation, while deploying computer and automation in industries and factories. But that in turn creates more job opportunities.

  28. Daniel
    October 18, 2013

    “Do check these articles out to get a sense of the way Things are about to change(and not always for the Better). Frightening for Sure!”

    Ashish, thanks for the links. Frightening or not?

  29. Ashu001
    October 19, 2013

    Jacob,

    I disagree(Strongly).

    I am seeing that first hand in the Auto Industry(as well as in Core Manufacturing).

     

    So many companies which previously manufactured in the US till the 1980s then offshored to China are  now coming back Slowly-Slowly to America (because of Lower Energy and Wage costs in America).

    Unfortunately the Number of Jobs generated are just a Fraction of what they were in the 1980s.

    Thanks primarily to Automation.

    You can't dispute that Huge Numbers of Blue Collar Jobs have vanished in America thanks to Automation.

    Most of those Americans are now on Food Stamps.

     

  30. Ashu001
    October 19, 2013

    Jacob,

    As someone who has seen the effects First-Hand,I fal in the Category who is Very Scared.

    Sorry for being so pessimistic.But We have to learn to draw the Line on Automation somewhere (as long as Our Populations are Growing).

    Once they start declining then its Okay to go in for No-Holds barred Automation,

  31. Daniel
    October 20, 2013

    “As someone who has seen the effects First-Hand,I fal in the Category who is Very Scared.  Sorry for being so pessimistic.But We have to learn to draw the Line on Automation somewhere (as long as Our Populations are Growing).”

    Asish, when technology grows no such worries or concerns. When laptops are introduced, similar concerns are there, finally what happened; it had created more job opportunities

  32. Daniel
    October 20, 2013

    “Unfortunately the Number of Jobs generated are just a Fraction of what they were in the 1980s. Thanks primarily to Automation. You can't dispute that Huge Numbers of Blue Collar Jobs have vanished in America thanks to Automation.”

    Ashish, am not getting why you are against technology?

  33. Ashu001
    October 21, 2013

    Jacob,

    As I said previously My Viewpoints will scare a lot of Lot of Techies.But its true.

    You can see a lot of Blue Collar Jobs vanish Globally thanks to Automation and Technology has'nt exactly brought those jobs back.

    In America and France things like the Obamacare Act and Minimum wage Rules just make things worse.

  34. itguyphil
    October 21, 2013

    “In America and France things like the Obamacare Act and Minimum wage Rules just make things worse.”

    How so?

  35. Daniel
    October 21, 2013

    “You can see a lot of Blue Collar Jobs vanish Globally thanks to Automation and Technology has'nt exactly brought those jobs back.”

    Ashish, I personally feel that there won't be any cause of worry because new job openings may be created across different domains, for supporting automation technology.

  36. Ashu001
    October 22, 2013

    Jacob,

    I beg to differ(strongly).

    Anyways Time will tell who is right and who is'nt.

    We have reached a Threshold when Automation stops generating the kind of Replacement Jobs needed to make up for those lost by Automation.

  37. Ashu001
    October 22, 2013

    pocharle,

    I won't say I am an expert at this issue;but what Has Happened thanks to Obamacare is that more and more employers have no Interest in Hiring Full-time Employees(just temps).

    Especially if they need to Hire more than 30 Employees today.

    The Burden of Health Insurance has been so Onerous for Employers that they might as well either Close Shop/Switch to temps/Outsource.

    All the Latest Employment Surveys in America point out this fact very clearly(including the latest one out today).

    As for the Minimum Wage issue,All you need to do is compare the Unemployment Rates in France (which has one of the Highest Minimum Wages in the World)and Germany(which has NO Minimum Wage).

    France has Record Unemployment today while Germans are Struggling to Find Qualified People to fill Adequate positions.

    Mike Shedlock and Peter Tenerbaum cover this area very nicely(and in Great Depth).

    Do read up on this issue(if you are interested).

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.ae/2013/10/rent-price-controls-mandatory-rental.html

    http://www.acting-man.com/?p=26687

    And Foolish Policies by the Politicians are just making things Worse-Much Worse.

    The French Agriculture Minister(they are all a Bunch of Jokers);had this to say-

    “France had been adversely affected “by competition from Germany, which is unfair competition because Germany does not have a minimum wage and we do. That is a problem,” he said.”

     

    Totally,Totally Stupid Behavior from the French.Any wonder their Economy is Down in the Dumps???

     

  38. Ashu001
    October 22, 2013

    Jacob,

    Looking at the current Pace of technological Change;its changing to fast for Most Labor to adapt this is why I am for Limiting the Pace of Change.

    The Best way to do this is to Kill the Fake Liquidity (via Quantiative Easing) that is sloshing through Global markets currently.Automatically Capital(including Automation Technology) will become more expensive compared to labor.

  39. itguyphil
    October 22, 2013

    Definitely looking to follow up on this. I have heard so many different viewpoints on the topic that it's good to hear what others think/have to say about it.

    Thanks for the links.

  40. Daniel
    October 22, 2013

    “Anyways Time will tell who is right and who is'nt.”

    Asish, fine. Wait and see

  41. Daniel
    October 22, 2013

    “The Best way to do this is to Kill the Fake Liquidity (via Quantiative Easing) that is sloshing through Global markets currently. Automatically Capital(including Automation Technology) will become more expensive compared to labor.”

    Ashish, it's totally wrong concept.

  42. Ashu001
    October 23, 2013

    Jacob,

    Please explain why this is a Wrong Concept?

    I am All Ears!

    You have to figure out an Effective way to Encourage Savings,Thrift and Hard-work.

    The Current Central banking regime does'nt allow that.

     

  43. Ashu001
    October 23, 2013

    Jacob,

    Yes Definitely will wait and see.

    In the Mean-time I recommend you read up on Austrian Business Cycle Theory particulary this-

    Banks expand credit well beyond their own assets and by the funds of their clients, often supported or encouraged by the setting of low interest rates by a central bank. This additional credit flow into the economy from increased borrowing for capital projects stimulates economic activity. Projects which would not have been started before, seem now profitable, creating malinvestment. They increase demand for production materials and for labor and their prices rise, which, in turn, leads to an increase in prices of consumption goods. If the banks would stop the extension of credit, the boom would be rapidly over. To prevent the sudden halt of this boom (and the resulting collapse of prices), the banks must create more and more credit, and the prices will rise even more.

    But this expansion of credit cannot continue forever. There is no additional capital or labor; there is only more money (and debt). The means of production and labor which have been diverted to the new enterprises have to be taken away from others. Society is not sufficiently rich to permit the creation of new enterprises without taking away from others. As long as the expansion of credit is continued this will not be noticed, but it can't be pushed indefinitely. The inflation and the boom can last only as long as the public thinks that the prices will stop rising in the near future. When the public becomes aware, that there the inflation will not end, and that prices will continue to rise, panic sets in. Eventually, people may give up the currency and rush to exchange money for goods, buying things they have no use for, just in order to get rid of the money (the so-called “flight into real values.”)[3]

     

    http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=46

    http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Austrian_Business_Cycle_Theory

     

    ENJOY!

  44. Ashu001
    October 23, 2013

    pocharle,

    Definitely!

    Its most important to have an open viewpoint to appreciate and Understand the Goings on Around us.

     

  45. Daniel
    October 23, 2013

    “Please explain why this is a Wrong Concept?”

    Ashish, the main concept of automation is to reduce human interaction and work force. Sometimes the initial investments may be more but long run it have some cost effective factors.

  46. Daniel
    October 23, 2013

    ashish, thanks for the articile. Its a market scenario, where money power goes up and down, based on purchase power

  47. Ashu001
    October 24, 2013

    Jacob,

    We have'nt had a Market-based Sceanario for Money for a long-long time now(Especially since 2008 but even before ever since The US Government moved off the Gold Standard in 1971).

    I don't want to go into the Detailed History of the Gold Standard and the impact of how its removal  except to say that The Gap between the Rich and the Poor has increased like anything and especially since 2008.

    Recommend you watch these Great Videos to get and idea of the Mess ,America(and by extension the World is in today).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-14SllPPLxY

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.ae/2013/10/the-sixth-stage-of-collapse.html

    http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1785-america-held-hostage-on-the-edge-of-constant-crisis

    Ron Paul (the Former Presidential Candidate) says it exactly as it is

    http://the-free-foundation.org/tst10-21-2013.html

     

    Governments are Enormously Wasteful,and Routinely Make Wrong Decisions.Look at the Track Record of Previous TARP Spending like Solyandra,ENER1,A123 Systems,etc,etc[All Renewable Energy Companies which went Bankrupt or the Big Banks like JPMorgan,Bank of America,Citigroup,etc which would have gone Bankrupt in 2008 if it were'nt for the Quantitative Easing Policies of the Federal Reserve]

    Giving them the more Power (via the Current Fiat Money system is extremely Foolish).

    The Solution?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngtushlwjvo

     

    Today the World's Only Real Hope is that the Chinese decide to Ditch the US Dollar and Let their Yuan become Fully Convertible (via SDRs if neccessary) or the American People Finally Wake up and Throw out these Thieves in the Federal Reserve and Congress.

     

  48. Ashu001
    October 24, 2013

    Jacob,

    That may be so.

    But should'nt we leave it to the Free Market to decide that(in the abscence of any Direct/Indirect Subsidies from the Government)?

    This is what is happening today thanks to the Negative Interest Rate Regime Globally.

    The Primary Criteria(as Far as Governments go is to Ensure that as many people who want a Job today can have it.I fail to see that Happening thanks to the Current Regime as well as Full Throttle moves towards 100% Automation.

  49. Daniel
    October 24, 2013

    Ashish, thanks for the details. It seems like you are a financial/market analysis.

  50. Daniel
    October 24, 2013

    “The Primary Criteria(as Far as Governments go is to Ensure that as many people who want a Job today can have it.I fail to see that Happening thanks to the Current Regime as well as Full Throttle moves towards 100% Automation.”

    Ashish, many times I feel that there are enough job opportunities are in and around area, but qualified or skilled peoples are very less. Only thing is job seekers has to be tune to the market requirements.

  51. Ashu001
    October 25, 2013

    Jacob,

    Yes I am passionate about Technology as well as Finance.

    I am extremely Lucky to be able to work Professionally in both Areas seperately.

     

  52. Ashu001
    October 25, 2013

    Jacob,

    That maybe so in your Specialised Fields of High-Tech.

    But otherwise a lot of people (especially those who have General Degrees in Arts,History,Pschyology,English,etc) are Unemployed today.

    I am talking about this only after looking at all the Latest Unemployment Numbers Globally.

    Sure,we need to ensure Our KIds get retrained to fit into areas where there is More Demand but for that you can't simply automate everything.

    That will spell Social Disaster in the Long-term.

  53. Daniel
    October 25, 2013

    Yes I am passionate about Technology as well as Finance. I am extremely Lucky to be able to work Professionally in both Areas separately.'

    Ashish, congrats and all the best.

  54. Daniel
    October 25, 2013

    ” But otherwise a lot of people (especially those who have General Degrees in Arts,History,Pschyology,English,etc) are Unemployed today.”

    Ashish, for hem also there are lots of job opportunities available, but they have to be groomed according to the requirement.

  55. Ashu001
    October 26, 2013

    Jacob,

    Yes that's True.

    There is a need for a lot of Re-training required.

    Question is are these Young people upto it?

    Or are they more interested in Only finding something in their specific Area ,Failing which they are ready to go on the Dole Queue?[So common in Europe and US today].

  56. Ashu001
    October 26, 2013

    Jacob,

    Thanks!

    Much Appreciated!

  57. Daniel
    October 27, 2013

    “There is a need for a lot of Re-training required.  Question is are these Young people upto it? Or are they more interested in Only finding something in their specific Area ,Failing which they are ready to go on the Dole Queue?[So common in Europe and US today].”

    Ashish, the problem is their mindset. They don't want to groom themselves for the market requirements. Instead of that, they always looks for the job matching with their skills and interest.

  58. Daniel
    October 27, 2013

    Welcome, Ashish

  59. Ashu001
    October 31, 2013

    Jacob,

    Unfortunately that mindset is all pervasive amongst the Young and Unemployed in Europe today.

    Really,Really sad.

     

  60. Ashu001
    October 31, 2013

    Jacob,

    You will like this

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-roads-black-boxes-20131027,0,6090226.story

    Every single Car has the Potential to be tracked Aggressively today.

  61. Daniel
    November 5, 2013

    Thanks Ashish. Good articile

  62. Daniel
    November 5, 2013

    “Unfortunately that mindset is all pervasive amongst the Young and Unemployed in Europe today. Really,Really sad.”

    You are right Ashish. I think such things are because of their high expectations.

  63. Ashu001
    November 6, 2013

    Jacob,

    It is more in the issue of excessive Welfarismand Legal Theft(Excessively High Taxes).

    Why should anyone work when you get Unemployment Insurance,Free Healthcare  as well as Free Food and Subsidized Housing(in return for Sky High Taxes)?

    It makes no practicaly sense .

    Unless that Welfare State collapses(and its very much on the Verge today),none of those folks are going to have any incentive to work today.

     

  64. Ashu001
    November 6, 2013

    Jacob,

    Yes its a good Article.

    It tells you in which direction the world of Technology is going today especially in refernec e to Cars.

     

  65. Daniel
    November 9, 2013

    “It tells you in which direction the world of Technology is going today especially in refernec e to Cars.”

    Ashish, it's an indication to future direction too.

  66. Daniel
    November 9, 2013

    'Why should anyone work when you get Unemployment Insurance,Free Healthcare  as well as Free Food and Subsidized Housing(in return for Sky High Taxes)?'

    Asish, feel of security.

  67. ebdobre
    December 23, 2017

    I agree with your opinion. imgrum

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