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Role of MOST in future vehicle connectivity

Posted: 05 Jul 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MOST  MOST150  LTE  CPU  network system 

MOST is the networking standard for automotive entertainment and information. Its third generation, MOST150, was recently introduced to the market. The questions that arise now are: What's next? Where is the network heading? How will the future requirements for in-car data networks define which functions are needed? How flexible should such a communication network be? This article answers these questions.

To easily and seamlessly integrate upcoming applications requires a flexible and upgradable network that forms a stable, robust backbone. For example, there is more and more focus on a growing number of IP-based applications. The requirements for bandwidth are driven by applications such as fast software updates of the different control devices, fast media access to onboard mass storage systems (HDD/SSD), mobile with USB connected consumer electronics devices and WLAN or LTE connected car-to-x applications.

For driver assistance camera systems, the uncompressed transfer of video data is required, which additionally presumes high transfer rates. It is important that common data formats are supported. Furthermore, the network concept should be inherently scalable and extendable with respect to speed; the amount and characteristics of the data channels and application-specific interfaces should be chosen appropriately.

Infotainment Driver assistance systems In-car applications are in transition. The scope of infotainment is continuously extended and optimised – take, for example, rear seat entertainment in HD quality with Blu-ray. The challenge is to keep pace with the developments of the consumer industry and the requirements of the users: the diversity of entertainment applications is multiplying rapidly, and users today cultivate a digital lifestyle where they always carry their entertainment systems everywhere. It is necessary, therefore, to connect these external systems and services with the car network. The focus is on the efficient and innovative migration of the features of entertainment electronics like internet radio and video and online connection via WiFi, UMTS and LTE.

Data streaming Driver assistance systems The car industry has focused for more than ten years on the MOST standard for audio and video communication. From the start, the network was conceived for the streaming of data to different devices, to ease the load on entertainment systems in cars. For communication between the outside world and the car, internet protocol (IP) is gaining increasing importance, where data streams in the IT world use different IP packet based protocols. The MOST Ethernet packet channel fits into the "Open Systems Interconnect" (OSI) Reference Model for network communication of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). The latest MOST Technology connects infotainment and data IP frames and already complies with IEEE802.x specifications (figure 1).

Figure 1: Modified OSI Reference Model that includes MOST and Ethernet (Source: Microchip Technology).

With MOST, the appropriate network architecture for a broad range of current and future IP-based applications, such as the support of Apps to Connected Services and general internet access, is already available. The network supports standards for consumer electronics, like UPnP (Universal Plug-n-Play) and DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), as well as standards for automotive diagnostics over IP (DoIP).

Driver assistance
Driver assistance systems (ADAS) are gaining popularity and within the euroFOT study (June 2012) they were also credited with a positive impact on driving behaviour, fuel efficiency, traffic security and overall cost savings ( There will be a quick increase in the number of cars that have driver assistance functions integrated, such as camera systems, distance alert and lane departure warnings, in addition to information functions like navigation systems, traffic information and function warnings. There is no question that an ADAS network for seamless integration is needed.

There is already a consensus between many OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers that there will be a new cluster in the electric/electronic ECO system. A flexible multiplex approach like MOST delivers a holistic, optimal system solution. Current MOST Technology already fulfills the requirements for merging infotainment and driver assistance and the coming generation will incorporate even higher bandwidth. In particular, applications that share the attention of the driver need an appropriate network that supports easy and seamless integration of the infotainment and driver assistance domains.

Real market requirements of a broad user group are always integrated into the decisions of the MOST Cooperation regarding the development of new functions and features, speed grades and physical layers. The technical and economical optimum is always aimed for, instead of the technically feasible extreme. The real needs are determined based on the data content that car makers expect will be truly brought into the car.

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