Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CarNet — Result In Brief

Project ID: 666449
Country: Spain
Domain: Transport and Mobility

Plastic optical fibre to boost speed and reliability of in-car data transmission

Meeting the demands of the connected car requires the development of a new application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for gigabit and long-reach communications. One EU supported project steps up to the challenge.
Plastic optical fibre to boost speed and reliability of in-car data transmission
The automotive industry is facing a number of revolutionary changes and while the public’s appetite for alternative forms of energy, automation and connectivity is ever-growing – developing the technology that is needed to support this evolution can be challenging.

When it comes to connectivity, CarNet took a good look at the current barriers facing what are known as ‘Advanced Driver Assisted System applications’. “When implemented well, these applications can save lives and support drivers to drive safely,” says Carlos Pardo, CEO and Co-founder of Knowledge Development for Plastic Optical Fibres (KDPOF), the company behind the CarNet project.

But the demand for data has outpaced the means to access that information in a swift and reliable manner. Cars vibrate, heat and electromagnetic interference can be obstacles: these factors mean traditional communications networks are unreliable. “They are also,” explains Pardo, “not capable of reaching above speeds of 150Mbps, meaning all information is too slow to be useful.”

To address this, CarNet set out to undertake the product development process with a quality approach that would guarantee compliance with automotive industry requirements. “KDPOF has developed and patented a breakthrough low-cost technology which allows data transmission at rates of up to 1Gbps. Since our technology uses plastic optical fibre (POF), it overcomes all the challenges of the in-car environment,” Pardo says.

After having successfully launched a series of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for gigabit and long-reach communications over POF, KDPOF was committed to take the next steps into replicating and validating the technology to implement and standardise a robust solution in the automotive industry. Through the CarNet project, KDPOF was able to adjust, test and demonstrate the benefits of KDPOF’s gigabit technology to the automotive market.

The work carried out during the 36 months of the project covered the completion of the entire ASIC design process, the ASIC emulation and verification, prototype manufacturing, and packaging.

The project was also able to conduct 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, qualification test results, and customer evaluation feedback.

Pardo explains much effort is being devoted to providing target markets with a broad standardisation of the technology the team has developed. “As is often the case with new technologies, the challenges lie in assuring customers of the features and benefits.” The team is committed to making the technology an industry standard for in-car communication and are happy to say that their technology has been integrated into several applications currently going into automotive platforms under development.

The general public can hope to see the technology adopted widely as it promises safety redundancy for autonomous driving. The objective of this redundancy is to prevent the autonomous car being locked if the backbone is disabled in some way. “A second backbone may be optical as well, or even copper-based. Reliability analysis shows the highest reliability lies in having a technology redundancy such optical fibre and copper, side-by-side,” adds Pardo.

Although the project has met all its goals, the team isn’t resting on its laurels. With the CarNet project now completed, KDPOF is focusing its R&D in the development of significantly higher speeds beyond 1 Gbps for optical communication systems in the automotive industry, in order to cope with the demands of ever-increasing data rates in autonomous and connected cars.


CarNet, autonomous cars, safety, plastic optical fibre, ADAS, automotive Ethernet, electric car, POF, connected car
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