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Park Assist for Economy Cars

In hopes of bringing advanced automotive features such as park-assist and blind-spot detection to economy cars, Freescale Semiconductor has teamed up with Broadcom to develop a compact MCU integrated with BroadR-Reach automotive Ethernet PHY.

BroadR-Reach is an Ethernet physical layer standard designed for use in automotive connectivity applications. It's promoted by Open Alliance SIG, which has members that include Broadcom, Freescale, NXP, BMW, GM, Renault, and Daimler.

Freescale's new chip, designated as Qorivva MPC5606E, is “the industry's first fully-integrated, packaged microcontroller and physical layer transceiver solution for use in 360-degree camera systems,” according to Allan McAuslin, Freescale's Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) product manager.

The chip, using BroadR-Reach technology, allows multiple cameras to send compressed video data simultaneously over an Ethernet in-vehicle network, displaying them on a center stack screen.

Video Over Ethernet

(Source: Freescale)

(Source: Freescale)

Key to the size and performance of the Qorivva MPC5606E is Broadcom's BroadR-Reach automotive Ethernet PHY. The integrated Ethernet solution enables compact vision compression and rapid transmission of video data throughout the vehicle, according to the two companies.

Compressed vs. uncompressed
It's important to note that there are two ways to implement surround-camera systems in a car. One is to broadcast uncompressed video data from cameras over metal-screened low-voltage differential signaling cable. Another is to compress video, package it for Ethernet broadcast and transmit video data over twisted-pair cable.

For self-parking applications, a car, using a combination of cameras and ultrasonic technologies, makes independent decisions and takes control of the vehicle. For such applications, the video stream is not compressed, explained Freescale's McAuslin.

But if video data from multiple cameras is sent just to be displayed on an in-vehicle screen for a driver to see, rather than for the vehicle to take control, video data can be compressed.

Just to be clear, in such a case, the system enables park-assist, rather than self-parking.

Compared to the previous method of broadcasting uncompressed video data over LVDS cabling, BroadR-Reach technology — in which compressed video is transmitted via unshielded single twisted-pair cable — reduces the costs for connectivity by 80% and cable weight by 30%, according to Broadcom's estimates.

These cost and weight reductions are expected to help carmakers add surround-view camera systems to higher volume, mid-range, and economy vehicles.

Compact cameras
Beyond reducing costs for connectivity and cable weight, the Qorivva MPC5606E helps reduce the size of automotive camera modules by up to 50%.

McAuslin pointed out that camera size is becoming more important to automotive OEMS. Carmakers want peripheral cameras to be small and unobtrusive for aesthetic reasons. Smaller cameras can be “more easily hidden within design features of the car, such as a front grill, bumper or wing mirror,” Freescale explained.

With the Qurivva MPC5606E, what used to be dual-chip solution (Freescale's MCU and Broadcom's BroadR-Reach phy) has become a single chip. The MCU and the phy are integrated in System-in-Package through stacked die wire bond. The chip is now available in a small, low-cost 8x8mm package, according to Freescale.

Key features included in the Qurivva MPC5606E — designed for real-time broadcast of video and audio data over Ethernet — are image compression through a Motion-JPEG encoder, precision-time stamping hardware (IEEE 1588), Fast Ethernet controller, and a BroadR-Reach physical layer for Ethernet broadcast.

Qorivva MPC5606E MCU

(Source: Freescale)

(Source: Freescale)

The chip, currently available for lead customers, will be qualified in June, 2014. It will be in volume production by the end of 2014, McAuslin added.

Vehicles integrated with the new Qorivva MPC5606E will reach the market in 2015.

— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times Circle me on Google+

This article was originally published on EBN's sister publication EE Times .

18 comments on “Park Assist for Economy Cars

  1. t.alex
    April 6, 2014

    It is interesting to notice that Ethernet is gaining the ground for automotive usage again. Sometime ago, we heard about FlexRay bus for highspeed in-car inter-connect, but not sure what is wrong with this bus that people is switching back to Ethernet.

  2. prabhakar_deosthali
    April 7, 2014

    When a driver needs help in parking, especially the economy cars , it is not the multiple views around the cars that he may be interested , but the  skill to fit his/her car into that parking slot with  just a few inches space available in the front and the back. The manuvouring skill with the steeering  is not present in many drivers and hence a system that can do self-parking is needed than just multiple camera views.

  3. Ariella
    April 7, 2014

    @Prabgarjar_deosthali I hate maneuvering into tight spots and will often park further away just to have more wriggle room. Most of the time I drive a mini-van, which really does not a lot more space, but even for a car, I don't want to worry about hitting anything. So I'd love a gadget that would solve that problem for me.

  4. Eldredge
    April 7, 2014

    I don't have an issue with parallel paring (most of the time), but I would be very interested in blind spot detection technology across the spectrum of car classes.

  5. SP
    April 8, 2014

    Yes blind spot detection is quite an interesting and needed feature.Looks like automobile are going to create anext happening sensation like smartphone once created.

  6. Daniel
    April 9, 2014

    “When a driver needs help in parking, especially the economy cars , it is not the multiple views around the cars that he may be interested , but the  skill to fit his/her car into that parking slot with  just a few inches space available in the front and the back.”

    Prabhakar, smart sparking system with GPS based solutions are available in most of the parking slots. So there won't be any separate requirement in your car for making the parking arrangements

  7. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    April 9, 2014

    @t.alex, i'll bet the race to agreement has a few more laps before it's finished. There really have been a lot of shifts.

  8. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    April 9, 2014

    City drivers will rejoice when this is mainstream.

  9. Ariella
    April 9, 2014

    @Jacob ” smart sparking system with GPS based solutions are available in most of the parking slots. So there won't be any separate requirement in your car for making the parking arrangements” I haven't seen that yet in New York, at least no parking lots that say they are equipped with such technology. 

  10. Daniel
    April 10, 2014

    “I haven't seen that yet in New York, at least no parking lots that say they are equipped with such technology. “

    Ariella, but in India one of the company developed such a system and as a part of evaluation they had installed it at various shopping mall parking areas.

  11. Ariella
    April 10, 2014

    @Jacob that explains why you're ahead of the curve (and the curb, too).

  12. Daniel
    April 11, 2014

    “that explains why you're ahead of the curve (and the curb, too).”

    Ariella Thanks 🙂

  13. t.alex
    April 11, 2014

    Hailey, it seems to me Flexray is still use for highly real-time and critical communication. Ethernet is used for not-so critical in terms of timing, and with its throughput, it is perfect for video streaming in park-assist application.

  14. Adeniji Kayode
    April 22, 2014

    @t.alex, I think over the years, ethernet has proven to be more reliable.

  15. Adeniji Kayode
    April 22, 2014

    @ prabhakar, I agree with you on that. Actually, parking, which may sometimes involve reversing is considered to be a bit tideous task in driving by many people.

  16. Adeniji Kayode
    April 22, 2014

    @Ariella, On this, you are not alone. Many people would not mind any gadget that can help them park well without hitting the car againt something.

  17. Adeniji Kayode
    April 22, 2014

    @ Rich, Not necessarily.

  18. t.alex
    April 23, 2014

    Adenji,

    Ethernet is actually not a reliable protocol. That's why on top of it people build TCP protocol for reliable transmission, i.e. to guarantee delivery. Now for automotive environment, this is not 'realtime' enough. CAN bus or flexray will guarantee more realtime behaviour.

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