Held annually in Munich, the Automotive Ethernet Congress gathers more than a hundred Ethernet experts from across the global automotive industry. As the advent of the Software-Defined Vehicle draws closer, in which Ethernet will play a key role, this year’s edition offered immersive training sessions alongside a broad range of presentation sessions.
Four of our automotive technology experts attended the event, and observed a variety of innovative trends and technologies that will soon come to play a major role in the industry as it integrates more advanced hardware and software into a greater number of vehicles. This Insight details some of the event’s defining trends while emphasizing their implications for, and impacts on, the industry moving forward.
Ethernet in Automotive: Then & Now
A key talking point at the event was the evolution of Ethernet in the automotive industry to date, and the ways in which it is set to evolve in the near future. Here, the technology’s presence within automotive began with proprietary solutions before evolving into an extensive standardization community – helping resolve development pitfalls such as fragmentation and incompatibility.
A range of these standards have since been established, such as 100BASE-T1, 10BASE-T1S, and the AUTOSAR Ethernet Switch specification, that offer different connectivity speeds and capabilities. In the future, as the presence of vehicle connectivity technologies and the Ethernet necessary to support them grows, this standardization community will play a key role in addressing future challenges quickly, and efficiently.
Driving New Topologies
For many key automotive technologies, topology plays a major role in their operations. Representing the physical arrangement of nodes and connections within a network, topologies ultimately work to quickly execute the demands of the technologies they are linked with. At the Congress, key industry players such as BMW highlighted the various benefits Ethernet could bring to the topologies found within a variety of key automotive technologies – including vehicle sensors that regularly process vast amounts of data.
In integrating an Ethernet-based network into such a topology, enabling an end-to-end ethernet connection as a result, OEMs can both save costs and enhance system performance. Here, costs for both hardware and software are saved while an Ethernet-based arrangement showcased at the event allowed for a greater number of nodes to be placed within the topology, accommodating for the increased demand of vehicle sensors as well as multi-drop topology.
While the previous two trends highlighted the capabilities and future potential of Ethernet, the Congress also stressed the importance of protecting Ethernet. At the event, players such as Technica Engineering and ETAS identified the ways in which OEMs and suppliers can bolster the security of Ethernet-based solutions.
In doing so, the event more broadly emphasized how the industry must work to strike a balance between offering a strong suite of vehicle security systems, and an enhanced range of performance for user-facing and vehicle control features. Further discussions revolved around the most common, and popular, solutions for protecting Ethernet – taking a deep dive into their benefits as well as the best alternatives that could similarly be embraced by the industry at large.
Ethernet, Automotive, and the Future
Ultimately, the 2023 Automotive Ethernet Congress demonstrated the significance of Ethernet to the industry’s imminent future. In anticipation of its uptake, alongside the wider uptake and integration of technologically advanced vehicle systems, the event showcased its true potential to enhance both vehicle development and the end user experience.
Even with the diverse range of talking points generated by the event and discussed in this Insight, it covers only a portion of the innovation, technologies, and concepts covered in our dedicated Automotive Ethernet Congress report.
Available as a free report for anyone to download and read, it offers a summary of the event’s highlights, before delving thoroughly into each its defining trends – ranging from the role of middleware as a key enabler for Ethernet, to the legislation requirements surrounding Ethernet itself. Further insight is provided through individual perspectives from each of our automotive consultancy experts who attended the event, understanding their key takeaways from this year’s Automotive Ethernet Congress and the best industry practices for responding to these takeaways.