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Rapid Data Communication Network for Connected Cars

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CarNet (Rapid Data Communication Network for Connected Cars)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-03-31

The planning and execution of the CarNet project provides a resourceful path to help the company achieve an important milestone in the implementation of a microelectronic solution for the automotive industry. 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 following list outlines the main objectives of the CarNet project:
1. Validate the specific KDPOF prototype (1Gbps “test chip”) for the automotive sector, including its design and specific adaptations.
2. Pre-qualify the KDPOF 1Gbps technology with the automotive stakeholders
3. Integrate and demonstrate KDPOF technology within an in-car data communication solution
4. Engage with OEMs and continue to take steps to achieve a 1Gbps standard for in car data communication.
5. Build a comprehensive investor-ready business plan (an updated version of the current business plan).
The successful completion of this project implies the existence of a prototype along with a pre-qualification report that can provide relevant evidence of compliance on functionality and reliability.
The work carried out during the first 24 months of the project covers the completion of the entire ASIC design process. 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 when the physical version of the ASIC that is intended for automotive applications can be tested for design validation, after prototype manufacturing. This reporting period includes completing the design and launching manufacturing, as well as all the necessary research to continuously understand the requirements from the automotive industry as inputs for design.

2. Pre-qualify the KDPOF 1Gbps technology with the automotive stakeholders.
This objective will be completely achieved when the physical version of the ASIC that is intended for automotive applications can be tested for reliability validation, after prototype manufacturing. This reporting period includes continuous research to better understand the reliability requirements from the automotive industry. An important aspect of this work includes electro-magnetic compatibility assessment based on customer feedback.

3. Integrate and demonstrate KDPOF technology within an in-car data communication solution.
This objective will be completely achieved when a physical evaluation board/system, including the version of the ASIC that is intended for automotive applications, can be tested in real application for validation, after prototype manufacturing. Preliminary 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, since OEM customers have been actively engaged in the requirements assessment process.

5. Build a comprehensive investor-ready business plan (an updated version of the current business plan).
This objective will be achieved by the end of the third reporting period.
The state of progress in the execution of the project, as of the end of this reporting period, goes in alignment with the societal expectations that were originally set upon proposal. 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. The completion of tasks within the first reporting period includes the most critical step in achieving compliance, which is the actual understanding of requirements. The results obtained to this point have demonstrated that the actual technology that is being used to cover Consumer and Professional needs is already in compliance with several reliability requirements of the automotive industry. The design tasks that have been implemented in this period include the adaptation of current technology to the new requirements.
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