A plethora of standards have been developed or are in the works for connected car / intelligent transport system (ITS) technologies. Implementation is now largely in the hands of automotive manufacturers.

In 2015, more than 20% of vehicles sold worldwide will include embedded connectivity and more than half will be connected by embedded, tethered, or smartphone integration. By 2025, every new car will be connected in multiple ways.

A variety of development projects are in the works related to in-car, car-to-driver, and car-to-x connectivity. In a recent survey of 250 CxOs in European automotive companies, challenges remain in software development, security, and testing (Figure 1).

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Figure 1. Connected Car in Europe: Strategies and Technologies for Connected Driving.

Jaguar, for instance, has added a new pothole warning system to the Land Rover. Using data from the road-sensing magnetic shocks, “the system records the magnitude of road impacts, tags their location, and uploads them to a cloud server where other drivers would be warned of a potential pothole, sunken manhole cover, or deep storm drain. When combined with a stereo camera – two optical cameras positioned close together for judging depth – the car could precisely locate that hole in the road, snap a pic, and report it to the local public-works authority. The Range Rover’s shocks would also prepare for impact if the driver doesn’t heed the warning, tensing and slackening accordingly.”

The next stage of the project at Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Research Centre in the UK is to install new road surface sensing technology in the vehicle, including an advanced forward-facing stereo digital camera.

Infotainment Development

When it comes to infotainment and smartphone integration, several competing vendor-initiated connectivity systems are in play.

Google Android Auto leverages the strength of Google Maps, and also supports messaging, music, weather, and other smartphone apps. Following closely on Google’s heels, Apple’s CarPlay integrates iPhone apps with a car’s digital systems. It works with Siri voice control and the car’s control knobs, buttons, or touchscreens. Functions include maps, phone, messaging, music, news, audiobooks, and more.

But Toyota hasn’t jumped on board either yet. Their engineers are studying whether to adopt SmartDeviceLink (SDL) technology, an open source version of Ford AppLink. AppLink gives drivers command and control of smartphone apps through dashboard buttons, display screens and voice recognition technology.

Figure 2. Pothole alert system in Jaguar’s Land Rover.

Figure 2. Pothole alert system in Jaguar’s Land Rover.

The Hyundai Sonata is the first car to integrate Google Android Auto. Chevy will offer both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in 14 models that will debut this year. But Ford’s SDL technology is already in more than 5 million Ford vehicles globally, giving it a big head start.

Communication Frequencies

The automotive radar market is evolving into a mix of frequencies – 24 GHz, 77 GHz, and 79 GHz – as technology allows and economics permit, said John Coonrod, Market Development Manager at Rogers’ Advanced Connectivity Solutions. For circuit designers and component specifiers, the rules change at these higher millimeter-wave frequencies.

The RO4000 Series High Frequency Circuit Laminates are an excellent choice for cost/performance for 24GHz radar applications.  The RO4835has been developed for extreme stability, even when exposed to the harsh environments of automotive applications. For high moisture environments, the RT/duroid® 5870 and 5880 high frequency laminates have a very low dielectric constant and extremely low water absorption characteristics. For 77GHz automotive radar applications, the RO3003 laminate is the preferred choice due to high material uniformity.

 

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