Modern cars are brimming with cameras, sensors, and displays that need increasing amounts of bandwidth without adding undue cabling weight.


Building on the enormous design and manufacturing base which made high-resolution, miniaturized digital cameras possible for mobile phones, the universe of MIPI applications has expanded to the automotive world. Today’s cars, particularly with the increasing sophistication of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), are brimming with cameras, sensors, and displays. Park assist, driver monitoring, blind spot detection, night vision, vehicle security systems, and more employ types of automated vision systems. These increasingly use MIPI to enable the growing capabilities of ADAS. Cockpits and infotainment systems also feature a growing number of high-resolution displays, and these too use MIPI PHYs and controllers.

Increasingly complex ADAS systems use a fusion of sensors that span the EM spectrum to create a comprehensive 3D image of the dynamic environment around the vehicle. Data from lidar (light detection and ranging), radar, and traditional global shutter cameras are combined to create and update the digital twin of the world the car traverses. Low latency, high bandwidth sensor and display packets provide key information and weight benefits. All this converged sensor data takes tremendous bandwidth, and the MIPI Camera Serial Interface 2 (MIPI CSI-2) v3.0 is increasingly the workhorse solution for transporting this volume of data. The new CSI-2 v4.0 adds RAW24 and Always-On Sentinel Conduit (AOSC) capabilities enabling additional advantages to design architects.

When we think about our choice of connectivity in electronic systems, weight is not normally a first-order consideration, but it absolutely is when it comes to vehicles. A major networking hurdle introduced by the proliferation of sensors is the weight of cabling. In many vehicles, wiring is one of the top four heaviest subsystems. This issue is compounded as more cars go electric, adding in the weight of the battery. A Tesla battery pack, for instance, weighs about 900 pounds, which nets out heavier than an engine and full tank of gas.

What’s more, it’s often the electric vehicle makers that are leading the charge for autonomous driving. They need more sensors and better networking while simultaneously reducing weight to compensate for the battery. The weight benefit of MIPI is that it can provide low-latency, high-bandwidth connections with fewer wires than legacy networking solutions. This enables the continued profusion of sensors for ADAS while keeping the weight of cabling low.

A fundamental goal of ADAS is to automate and enhance the driving experience to increase safety. Human error is the leading cause of traffic accidents. ADAS systems reduce the risk of injury and property damage. To meet its goals, ADAS systems require the high quality and high reliability solutions as defined by ISO 26262 Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) requirements.

Rambus has been a provider of MIPI IP solutions since 2010 and offers 32 and 64-bit digital controllers for MIPI CSI-2 and MIPI DSI-2. Partnering with top-tier MIPI C/D-PHY suppliers, such as Mixel and Samsung, Rambus solutions have enabled over 250 ASIC and FPGA MIPI designs. An increasing number of these designs are for ADAS applications with leaders in the automotive market. If you’re designing a chip for the rapidly accelerating ADAS market, we can help you with expert technical support, a full suite of customization and integration services, applicable safety manual, FMEDA and DFMEA. As the MIPI CSI-2 standard continues to evolve with longer reach solutions for the automotive market, Rambus will be there to enable the latest capabilities in your designs.

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