At the same time, Ethernet has gained momentum, because it’s a fast, mature technology with high production volumes in the computer industry. "Ethernet has a certain beauty compared to MOST," Reger told us. "It's not proprietary. And you have a few hundred thousand man-years of development in TCP/IP-based systems around the world and in all sorts of applications."
The auto industry's idea is to leverage the computer industry's enormous Ethernet know-how.
The concept is apparently catching on. Freescale Semiconductor recently teamed with BMW on the development of a 32-bit Ethernet-based microcontroller for use in surround-camera parking-assist systems. And more companies, including Daimler AG, are said to be on the verge of joining the SIG.
"The industry is begging us to develop Ethernet silicon," Reger says. "The automakers in China, Korea, and the US who did not already have MOST in their vehicles are highly interested in Ethernet."
To keep up with our Chevy Volt coverage, go to Drive for Innovation and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director Brian Fuller. On his trip, sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is driving a Volt across America to interview engineers.
Even after years of reading about the incredible advances made in automobiles, I am still amazed at what the car companies are coming up with. When I was younger and my parents put the car on "cruise control," I thought it meant that the car knew where we were going and would just take us there by itself. Based on all the fascinating (at least to me) stories I've been reading lately, I'd say that might not be so far-fetched after all!
Chuck - How much of this slow adoption rate do you believe is due to regulations and entrenched processes in the automobile industry? Having worked on the research and development side of the automobile industry I know that they are very innovative and develop cutting-edge tools used for design and testing -- all while the production vehicle is outfitted with a cassette tape deck and a bicycle brake cable actuator for the fuel door.
Replacing the spools of copper with multiplexed twisted pair would have an instant effect on fuel economy. Is it because "that is not how it is done" or an automated assembly line that cannot accommodate radical change? I suspect that it is not due to insufficient technology.
Having come from the traditional IT world where Ethernet has long been a standard, I suppose I have a particular bias. That said, Chuck, I'm wondering why the automotive makers and other industry sectors have been hestitant to spec Ethernet in the past since it's such a well-proven technology? What advantages did the MOST technology you talk about in the article have over Ethernet and how has that changed now?
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.