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MIPI On Wheels: Enabling ADAS Applications

The explosion of cameras and sensors in modern cars means an increasing reliance on interface specifications.

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Formed in 2003, the Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Alliance brought together leading system and chip companies to provide standards for the essential video interface technologies for cameras and displays in phones. Over the years, the alliance has expanded its scope to publish specifications covering physical layer, multimedia, chip-to-chip and inter-processor communications (IPC), control/data, debug/trace and software. With the broader mission, the MIPI Alliance ultimately dropped its original longer name and “MIPI” became its name and not an acronym.

Building on the enormous manufacturing base which made possible high-resolution, miniaturized digital cameras for mobile phones, the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) brought an even greater profusion of embedded cameras. When you think IoT, “sensing” is one of the key attributes of these devices, and it’s MIPI-based cameras that are collecting the visual data. This is creating an exponential rise in the generation of image data which is feeding rapid advancements in AI/ML training. The attractive force of the available MIPI data bandwidth and high-resolution data formats leveraged by cameras has drawn in more types of sensors.

With the growing volume of high-resolution, low-latency mobile cameras, 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 and sensors. 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. Meanwhile, cockpits and infotainment systems feature a growing number of high-resolution displays, and these too use MIPI interconnects.

ADAS systems are increasingly complex and combine 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. All this converged sensor data takes tremendous bandwidth, and the MIPI Camera Serial Interface 2 (MIPI CSI-2) v3.0 is the workhorse solution for transporting this volume of data. CSI-2 v3.0 offers capabilities including Unified Serial Link (USL) for encapsulating connections between a sensor module and application processor while reducing the number of wires (and commensurate weight) needed in automobiles.

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 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 120 ASIC and over 130 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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