Several months ago, MIPI I3C BasicSM, a subset of the MIPI I3C bus interface, was made available to the broader developer community without MIPI membership to foster greater interoperability and innovation in industries beyond mobile, including IoT and automotive.
Q: Briefly, how would you characterize the current automotive electronics market?
Despite stagnant vehicle production levels around the world and the tariff war’s impact on the semiconductor markets, the proliferation of electronics found in cars will still continue to grow. This growth is boosted by the connectivity, electrification and autonomy trends that have been taking shape for several years. The current disruption of the vehicle architecture represents a great challenge for the whole automotive electronics supply chain, and we are already seeing a lot of movement with startups, mergers, acquisitions and interesting partnerships at every level.
Q: In August 2018, MIPI Alliance announced development work had begun on MIPI A-PHYSM. What is A-PHY?
MIPI A-PHY is a physical layer specification targeted for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving systems (ADS) and other surround sensor applications in automotive (e.g., for displays, cameras), but also for other longer-reach applications such as IoT and industrial. While most MIPI specifications are designed for shorter reaches for use within mobile devices, A-PHY will be capable of reaching up to 15 meters in the demanding automotive environment.
At SEMI’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FLEX) and MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress (MSTC) conference last month in Monterey, Calif., much of the buzz surrounded the astonishing projected growth in the demand for sensors in virtually everything, from such seemingly diverse applications as autonomous driving systems to large-scale crop moisture management.
But regardless of whether these sensors will be targeted for wearables, industrial applications, automotive applications or agriculture, integration is key. And, anywhere sensors are used, MIPI I3C® offers the ability to simplify the integration process, reducing costs and speeding time to market. With this in mind, Ken Foust, sensor technologist at Intel, and chair of both the MIPI Sensor and I3C Basic Ad Hoc working groups, was invited to provide an update on MIPI I3C advancements since the specification was released to MIPI members in 2016.
As MIPI recently celebrated 15 years of developing interfaces for the mobile industry, the benefits of standardization for wired interfaces have proved extensible to industries well beyond mobile. In the case of automotive, for example, the development of common interfaces for the connectivity of autonomous functions like sensing, processing and acting has the potential to improve the economy of scale to reduce cost and improve the integration of advanced functions. [Figure 1 shown above: Automotive functions leveraging the smartphone.]
From IoT communications to mobile video, organizations already have plans to utilize 5G. A recent Gartner survey revealed that 66% of organizations have plans to deploy 5G by 2020. Fortunately, the MIPI Alliance has been working hard to ensure that the high-speed mobile interfaces that devices need to keep up with 5G are ready.
In fact, the first generation of 5G smartphones already use MIPI interface specifications and these specifications will meet device performance needs through 2021.