Ethernet in the Car


As the connected car advances, one of the biggest factors on the table for many of the major auto manufacturers is how to power the connectivity to the vehicles in a way that is scalable and cost effective. But it isn’t just a matter of connecting the car to systems outside the vehicle; there is a big need to connect units and systems inside the car as well.

Dominique Bonte, vice president and practice director at ABI Research,, suggests Ethernet has emerged as a cost-effective standard for powering automotive connectivity while countering issues of scalability and cost-prohibitive technologies.

Today, Hyundai,, and Broadcom Corp.,, have announced an agreement to power the next-generation connected car. Broadcom provides BroadR-Reach Ethernet technology for connectivity in the vehicle. Together, the companies will enable infotainment, telematics, and ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) for surround-view parking and lane-departure warnings.

According to Broadcom, Ethernet enables an open, scalable network for powering in-vehicle infotainment and ADAS, while supporting faster implementation of next-generation technology in vehicles. Ethernet provides the ability to share data from a common source to the entire network.

The company believes the partnership with Hyundai will make features previously only available in luxury models accessible to a broader number of drivers, ultimately improving automotive safety for the masses.

Kevin Brown, vice president and general manager of PHY Group at Broadcom, compares Ethernet in cars to plumbing, saying it has the potential to hook everything together. He gives the example of ADAS and the need for cameras to be networked in vehicles. With Ethernet, the different nodes in the vehicles—cameras, head units, antennas that hook to other devices, etc.—can be networked.

Since 2011, Hyundai and Broadcom have both been members of the OPEN Alliance, which aims to drive wide-scale adoption of Ethernet-based connectivity in vehicles. Today, the alliance announced it now has a total of 81 members including Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan, Renault, and Volvo Group Trucks, among others—in less than a year since its inception.

Connectivity in cars is growing. From infotainment to safety, vehicles today have more advanced features than ever before. Keeping a close eye on these trends, the February/March edition of Connected World magazine will include the second annual Connected Car of the Year award winners, all of which are showing what can be done with in-vehicle technology.

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