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Time sensitive networking for automotive applications

Time sensitive networking for automotive applications

Modern automobiles have been called ‘computers on wheels’, reflecting just how technology-laden they have become. An advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) can use multiple cameras and sensors to provide data to one or more onboard computers that use a combination of machine learning and digital signal processing to avoid obstacles, compute trajectories and make decisions. Simultaneously, within the cabin, occupants now expect to be ‘connected’ using in-car displays or smart mobile devices connected wirelessly via the vehicle’s systems.

Because of the high data rates that modern Ethernet can achieve along with the wide availability of components, the protocol is seen as the future for automotive networking to replace the older network and fieldbus technologies. This has allowed a more ‘IT-centric’ approach, leading to the rise of zonal architecture in vehicles.

However, especially for certain time sensitive safety related functions (ADAS, automated emergency braking (AEB) etc.) regular Ethernet has a significant issue. Unlike many other protocols, it is not deterministic and there is no guarantee when a packet will be transmitted, depending upon traffic levels on the backbone.

However, adapted protocols for Ethernet are able to deliver this deterministic performance. Known as Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), protocols such as IEEE 802.1AS provide support for real-time and streaming-media applications. Additionally, the Generalized Precision Time Protocol (gPTP), defines timing and synchronization for TSN Ethernet, and IEEE 802.1Qbv allows traffic to be sent according to a strict schedule.

Toshiba’s TC9562 and TC9563 Ethernet controllers offer full support for gPTP, IEEE 802.1Qav, IEEE 802.1Qbv, and other elements needed for applications where high bandwidth is a key requirement. The TC9562 provides support for 1Gbps Ethernet while the TC9563 extends the networking capability to two ports, each able to support 10Gbps. This device was designed for the increasingly demanding requirements of systems that are based on automotive zonal architectures.

Toshiba’s white paper on TSN networking for the automotive industry can be downloaded here: