High-Bandwidth Serial Links for Safer Cars

May 30, 2018

Christine Young By: Christine Young
Blogger, Maxim Integrated 


While it was a little startling when it activated (and even unnecessary in that particular moment), I do appreciate my car's automatic braking function. I can see why this and other features of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are helping to make driving a little safer.

ADAS functions are, of course, only as good as the cameras, sensors, processors, and sophisticated algorithms that make them work. It’s common in many of today’s cars to have up to eight cameras supporting the vehicle’s safety functions. Future cars may boast more than a dozen cameras, many with high-definition displays. These systems capture a ton of data and must, in real time, process all of this information to direct the vehicle to respond and react accordingly. As a result, high bandwidth within the vehicle is key, and this is where we can shine a spotlight on serializer/deserializer (SerDes) technology used to transmit voluminous amounts of high-resolution digital video data. This serial link technology must perform reliably in the harsh automotive environment to deliver fast speeds and low latency.

While Ethernet is fairly common in many cars, it does require compression of video feeds. It also isn’t fast enough to keep up with the increasing data transmission demands. Maxim’s next-generation gigabit multimedia serial link (GMSL) SerDes technology, on the other hand, fully supports the high bandwidth, data integrity, and complex interconnect requirements of ADAS as well as infotainment systems. The compression-free technology simultaneously transports HD video, audio, control information, aggregated sensor data, and Gigabit Ethernet over 15m of a single coaxial cable or 10m to 15m of shielded-twisted pair cabling. Its built-in spread-spectrum capability reduces electromagnetic interference (EMI) of the link. And since GMSL requires only shielded twisted pair or coax cables, it simplifies the overall design while reducing weight, cost, size, and power consumption.

Three of Maxim’s newest GMSL products are the MAX96705 compact serializer, MAX96706 deserializer, and the MAX967xx SerDes family. With its support for 1-megapixel 60fps applications, the 16-bit MAX96705 is ideal for automotive camera applications. Its digital crosspoint switch allows camera data inputs to be serialized in any order while still delivering the desired deserialized output bit order. The 14-bit MAX96706 is for use with the MAX96705, delivering features such as continuous monitoring of video signal degradation over time. The MAX967xx family includes devices with line fault detection, small packages, and lower speed operation.

Learn more about how GMSL technology can support your next-generation ADAS application by reading our Design Solution, "GMSL SerDes Enables ADAS" and our white paper, "Choosing the Right High-Speed SerDes Technology for ADAS and Infotainment Systems."

Automatic brakingADAS functions like automatic braking call for fast, low-latency serial links inside vehicles.