High speed MIPI specification for automotive camera designs

September 16, 2020 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
New MIPI specs pave the path to autonomous vehicles
The A-PHY v1.0 specification from the MIPI Alliance provides asymmetric, long-reach point-to-point serial unidirectional communication lines in automotive electronics such as ADAS, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and surround-sensor applications.

The A-PHY v1.0 specification provides an asymmetric data link in a point-to-point topology, providing high-speed unidirectional data, embedded bidirectional control data and optional power delivery over a single cable. It features an ultra-low packet error rate of 10-19 which translates into particularly reliable data connections.

At the same time, it offers a high immunity to EMC effects in the notoriously demanding automotive environments. Its reach up to 15 meters should cover the very most automotive requirements even at data rates of up to 16 Gbps; the roadmap provides for further development of up to 48 Gbps. Version 1.1 which is already under development will double the data rate to 32 Gbps and increase the uplink data rate to 200 Mbps.

At the same time, the MIPI Alliance introduced MIPI Automotive SerDes Solutions (MASS).  MASS will provide automotive OEMs and suppliers with end-to-end high-performance connectivity solutions for the growing number of cameras, sensors and displays that enable automotive applications such as advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), connected in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and, ultimately, fully autonomous vehicles. These solutions, with focus on even higher functional safety and security built in at the protocol level, will help automakers integrate new and emerging safety features such as low-latency backup cameras, lane-keeping and sign-detection sensors and 360-degree camera, lidar and radar systems. MASS also will support multiple high-resolution instrumentation, control and entertainment displays.

As the physical layer cornerstone, A-PHY's primary mission is to transfer high-speed data between cameras and displays and their related domain ECUs. Through the development of additional supporting specifications, MASS intends to allow proven higher-layer protocols from MIPI and third parties to operate over physical links spanning an entire vehicle, eliminating the need for proprietary “bridges” and PHYs. For OEMs and system integrators this equates to simplified networks and reduced costs, weight and development time.

MASS will address functional safety over heterogeneous protocols and numerous topologies, including daisy chaining, according to ISO 26262. System-level

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