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Rapid Data Communication Network for Connected Cars

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CarNet (Rapid Data Communication Network for Connected Cars)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-03-31

Knowledge Development for Plastic Optical Fiber, S.L. (KDPOF) is a fabless semiconductor SME that specializes in the design and development of state-of-the-art Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) for gigabit and long-reach communications over POF. After having successfully launched and qualified a family of ASICs for the Consumer and Professional markets, KDPOF is committed to take the next steps into replicating and validating the technology to implement and standardize a robust solution in the automotive industry. Specifically, the goal is to design, develop, validate, and pre-qualify a version of an ASIC for gigabit communications over POF for automotive applications. The purpose of the project is to undertake the product development process with a quality approach that can guarantee compliance to the automotive industry requirements.
The work carried out during the 36 months of the project covers the completion of the entire ASIC design process, and the ASIC emulation, and verification, the prototype manufacturing and packaging, and the functional assessment characterization tests and Pre-Qualification tests has been already completed as well.
In order to understand the inputs for the design process, a compilation of all applicable requirements was done, including the involvement of automotive OEM customers and external industry experts. The work also covers the assessment of pre-automotive technology and the execution of preliminary qualification tests, as well as the development of a preliminary evaluation kit for automotive applications. Design tasks have been implemented, revised, and reviewed taking into consideration the assessment of requirements as well as qualification test results and customer evaluation feedback. The status of progress with respect to the project’s overall objectives can be summarized as follows:
1. Validate the specific KDPOF prototype (1Gbps “test chip”) for the automotive sector, including its design and specific adaptations.This objective will be completely achieved.
2. Pre-qualify the KDPOF 1Gbps technology with the automotive stakeholders. This objective will be completely achieved.
3. Integrate and demonstrate KDPOF technology within an in-car data communication solution. This objective has been completely achieved. A complete batery of exercises of integration and demonstration of previous KDPOF technologies have been carried out with potential automotive customers. Important feedback has been received from this exercise regarding electro-magnetic compatibility of the ASIC.
4. Engage with OEMs and continue to take steps to achieve a 1Gbps standard for in car data communication. This objective has been achieved. Now de KDPOF technology and the developed ASIC in this project is being integrated into at least one real communications application through a european TIER 1 into a new automotive platform under development.
5. Build a comprehensive investor-ready business plan (an updated version of the current business plan).
KDPOF has decided to finance the automotive go-to market action with investing capital, via different investment rounds. From the beginning of the project on April 2015 until today, investors have contributed in different rounds, andt the last round, executed at the beginning of 2018, is provided mainly to be able to run the final stages of the Automotive project of KDPOF, as well, some of it will keep the company running. Today, KDPOF has a good equilibrium in the shareholders, keeping 51% of the shares under control of the entrepreneurs, and the other 49% is of venture capital firms. All the shareholders are committed with the automotive project. Further capital contributions are planned.
The successful development and validation of a gigabit POF transceiver that can demonstrate functional, performance, and reliability compliance for automotive applications may well represent a major breakthrough in the implementation of a new communication standard in the automotive industry.
Desing and develop a chip and its production processes to meet the specific requirements of the car industry, such as low failure rates and ensuring that it is designed to meet the particular in-vehicle environment, pre-qualify the chip in an automotive environment, and integrate and demonstrate the chip within a full data communication solution for the automotive industry.
All objectives have been completely achieved, all tasks, milestones and deliverables have been finished and submitted to the Agency as planned
The ASIC design, development, validation, characterization and pre-qualification process are totally carried out.
The work carried out follow the plan detailed in the CarNet project, enhance innovation capacity, create new markets opportunities, strengthen competitiveness and growth of companies, address issues related to climate change or the environment, address industrial and/or societal needs at regional level or bring other important benefits for society as automotive security.
Potential customers have been able to evaluate the new technology with respect to automotive requirements, and Carnet's promoter has been able to improve their evaluation board based on customer feedback. Communication with at least 11 automotive customers (including both OEM as well as Tier-1) has taken place.
KDPOF have disseminated project results in scientific publications and by other means than scientific publications (social media, press-release, the project web site, video/film…).
The plan for exploitation of results, have been appropriately planned and executed in particular as regards intellectual property rights. In this sense, during the development of the standard KDPOF has identified Intellectual Property and has taken actions to protected it in form of a European patent. This European patent relates to the Forward Error Correction (FEC) technique approved to integrate the core of P802.3bv.
The European, Japanese and Korean patent applications are already granted. There has been no Office Action so far in Brazil, China, and India. However, in view of the grants in other countries, it seems to be likely that a patent will also be granted in these countries at least within the scope corresponding to the European claims.
KDPOF has engaged in 3 different standardization projects: •OPEN Alliance •IEEE: P802.3-bv •ISO 21111 standard series.
The advancements and achievements in this task constitute one of the most challenging and significant contributions to the project, as all efforts are devoted to providing target markets with a broad standardization of the developed technology.
The resources were used as described in the DoA and they achieve its objectives.
KDPOF have aimed at a gender balance at all levels of personnel assigned to the action.
The project is finished in line with the budget approved.