Ethernet in-vehicle networking to reach 40% penetration rate by 2020

Shift occurring in auto industry from dedicated auto tech to general purpose in-vehicle IT, says ABI

Ethernet in-vehicle networking is forecast by ABI Research to reach a 40 percent penetration rate in new vehicles by 2020, up from a 1 percent penetration rate this year.

Key to the development of Ethernet in-vehicle networking is the BroadR-Reach automotive Ethernet standard, created in 2011 by the OPEN (One-Pair Ether-Net) Alliance.

BroadR-Reach technology "allows multiple in-vehicle systems (such as infotainment, automated driver assistance and on board-diagnostics) to simultaneously access information over a single unshielded twisted pair cable. By eliminating cumbersome, shielded cabling, automotive manufacturers can significantly reduce connectivity costs and cabling weight," the alliance explains on its website.

Dominique Bonte, vice president and practice director at ABI, comments that the "emergence of drive-by-wire, the explosion of in-vehicle sensors for ADAS [advanced drive assistance systems] and automated driving, and the adoption of connected infotainment, pose new challenges for in-vehicle networking technologies in terms of cost, bandwidth, cable harness weight, and complexity. Ethernet is now being considered as a replacement for legacy bus protocols such as MOST [media oriented systems transport] and FlexRay by car OEMs including BMW and Hyundai."

In addition, short-range wireless technology is being deployed to connect and integrate smartphones, smartwatches and eyewear in the vehicle. Broadband wired standards such as mobile high-definition link (MHL) are enabling connected rear-seat infotainment as well.

There is a shift taking place in the automotive industry from dedicated automotive standards for electronics, semiconductors, software and connectivity to in-vehicle general purpose information technologies, such as Ethernet, MHL, near-field communications and computing and graphics processors.

This development represents a threat for the traditional automotive ecosystem, but an opportunity for mobile chipset vendors such as Broadcom, Intel, and Qualcomm and startups such as Silicon Image to enter the automotive industry, judges ABI.

For more:
- check out ABI's release
- check out the OPEN Alliance website

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