The conventional networking arrangement used in vehicles has been for the constituent electronic control units (ECUs) to be assigned specific individual functions. This has worked adequately enough until now - but that is about to change.
There is a lack of scalability to such approach offers, and this means that major limitations are starting to become apparent. There is increasing complexity within automotive systems, as numerous safety-related functions are being added to the latest vehicle models in order to support greater vehicle autonomy. This will make it essential that the underlying architecture is transformed accordingly.
The domain-based in-vehicle networking is starting to become outdated. It is consequently set to be replaced by a more efficient alternative, based on the establishing of zones. Each zone ECU will take responsibility for a multitude of different functions, with support be provided by centralised high performance computing (HPC) hardware. This will enable a streamlining of the supporting cabling infrastructure - with size, weight and cost reductions being derived. These are all highly beneficial to automotive brands, who want to improve their vehicles’ operational parameters to gain a competitive edge, while keeping their pricing attractive too.
The SoCs intended to support a zonal architecture often lack the connectivity now being required. The need for device-to-device communication to be included is placing considerable demands on the available PCIe interfaces. Through these, the modules needed for WLAN, cellular and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) transmission may be attached. Because of this situation, devices must be sourced that have enough PCIe and Ethernet resources incorporated into them.
This is why Toshiba has developed the TC9563XBG automotive interface bridge. Featuring a four-port PCIe switch with three external PCIe Gen 3 ports, plus two Ethernet ports, it is fully prepared for the heightened expectations of modern in-vehicle networking. Its Ethernet ports can be organised in different upstream/downstream configurations. They have AVB/TSN functionality to ensure deterministic operation.
An informative whitepaper published by Toshiba on the subject of zonal automotive networking architectures is available here: