The vision of the futuristic ‘connected car’ is not a far distant future, but will be soon an immediate reality.
NXP Semiconductors N.V. and Cisco Systems are working together to put a next generation of car to car and car to infrastructure wireless communications platform to the road-test in Europe, Australia and the United States for a commercial roll-out.
By 2015, a dozen of connected car models will likely hit the roads, allowing car drivers not only to see what’s going on in front of his car, but also to communicate with a traffic light system, or other traffic monitoring system on the roadside to check traffic flows on his car infotainment screen.
(Drue Freeman, senior vice president of automotive and transportation global sales & marketing)
The car to car (C2C) and car to infrastructure (C2X) communication platform is a next generation of wireless backbone technology for connected car system that is based on IEEE802.11p technology, an automotive version of Wi-Fi technology.
“If there are a multiple of cars on the road, all with this Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11p) capability, they can communicate with each other and know what’s going on. For example, if a car hit a brake, and you can see a brake light come on. If you have another between the car and you, however, you don’t see what’s happening with the first car. But this system tells you that the car ahead of you is braking, “said Drue Freeman, senior vice president of automotive and transportation global sales & marketing with NXP Semiconductors N.V.
“Through the Wi-Fi connection between two cars, that enables the information to reach this car. This is a really good safety critical us of this technology. We will save life,“ added he.
The applications don’t stop there. According to him, the system can also warn two near-colliding cars on the intersection of possible collision dangers. Or, an emergency car like paramedics ambulance can alert other cars on the road ahead of its coming to ask them to leave one emergency lane void. Using the C2C and C2X platform, car drivers will also be able to be aware of traffic lights and can get information about how many seconds they have before the traffic light changes.
This technology allows for much smoother traffic flows and much safer driving to help you to avoid accidents. This is something which will be on the road a few years away from now. The technology is available right now. We are testing this technology on an actual car around the world,” he continued.
NXP is working on the commercial rollout of software-defined radio, or SDR chip solutions for the C2C and C2X platform. Unlike a purely dedicated hardwired chip solution, the SDR can accommodate for any changes in the network standard or radio spectrum, because it can define new radio standard by updating software, or newly downloading firmware.
The chipmaker is using the concept of the SDR technology for terrestrial digital car audio broadcasting reception, because the software-centric approach enables a car audio system to receive any of digital audio broadcasting system wherever it is used in the world.
“What that means is that we have an ability to define which digital broadcasting standards you are receiving through software rather than unique dedicated hardware solution for each standard. There are many digital broadcasting standards in the world. If you do that with a purely dedicatd hardware, you need to have different solutions for each standards,” Drue Freeman stressed.
"With a NXP solution, you have one hardware platform, and your software defines which broadcasting standard you are receiving,” he continued.
For example, a car radio platform is set up for reception of live HD Radio, a terrestrial audio broadcasting standard of the U.S., but when the radio system is used in the Europe, it can switch to an European standard DAB, or digital audio broadcasting by downloading a firmware and decoding DAB signals.
On top of the two solutions, NXP also boasts an array of car audio chip solutions ranging from Class-D audio amplifier to on integrated single radio tuner chip solution. The Class-D car audio amplifier chip features high-fidelity audio performance, consuming significantly lower power, compared with Class-AB amplifier.
Photos & Videos By JH Bae