Turning cars into mobile devices

January 16, 2017 // By Ashraf Takla, Thomas Wilson and Christian Tuschen
Turning cars into mobile devices
Everyone remembers their first car – how you could go where you wanted to go, moving faster and going longer distances – you were mobile. Yes, our cars made us mobile, but today’s cars are becoming mobile devices themselves.

More than a means of transportation, cars are evolving into complete mobile devices - connecting and connected to the internet, transportation grids, and to each other. MIPI specifications are playing an important role in this transformation just as they have played the key role in unifying the interfaces in the most common mobile device of all – the smartphone. 

The MIPI Alliance was founded with the goal of making it easier and more economical to interface systems in devices like mobile phones. The organization defines interface specifications that standardize the interfaces of cameras, displays, and wireless modules, between high-speed processors, low-speed sensors, and other chip-to-chip data transfers.

Mobile devices are typically small, with components interfaced in a compact, closely coupled way deep inside the device. The transformation of the car to a connected device is occurring from the inside out as well - a perfect setting for leveraging the work done within the MIPI Alliance.

The system interface of a smartphone supplier mirror those developing to serve the auto industry. The ability of vendors to create power and performance-efficient interfaces (using MIPI specifications) provide companies in the auto supply chain the same advantages offered to the mobile phone makers and their suppliers. Automotive systems are being connected both wired and wirelessly.

This connectivity is becoming the “central nervous system” of the car. MIPI specifications are providing the connectivity between a growing number of mission-critical, informational, and entertainment systems transforming your car into a mobile device. Let’s look at this transformation and how the MIPI Alliance and its member companies are helping to make it happen.

In-and-between cars
There are a number of macro trends that are defining “use models” where MIPI specifications fit. These trends include the initial deployment and deeper integration of items like:

  • Telematics and In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI)
  • Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS)
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
  • Autonomous Driving Systems (ADS)

Telematics require interfacing GPS (Global Positioning Systems) with navigation display, including the functions of touch and audio. Driver assist requires camera, radar, Lidar (laser light), image processing, and computer vision interfaces with audio and display for direct feedback.

Intelligent Transportation Systems require wireless vehicle to infrastructure, (V2I), vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to everything (V2X) connections, bridging to radio frequency (RF) capabilities that support a number of different wireless (IEEE 802.11p, ac, ah, Bluetooth) and cellular (LTE, GSM) standards. All of these systems and their interconnections become even more critical as we move towards autonomous driving.

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