Proliferation of Sensors in Next-Gen Automobiles Is Raising the Bar for Housing & Interconnect Technologies
A common factor across much of this innovation is the proliferation of various types of sensors throughout next-gen vehicles, which in-turn is driving the need for more sophisticated enabling technologies to house, protect and connect these expanding on-vehicle sensor networks.
This article provides an overview of the application trends and types of sensors being deployed, along with a drilldown look at the specific issues regarding sensor housing design and high-speed sensor connectivity.
Trends in On-Vehicle Sensor Applications
Whereas many earlier ADAS applications typically focused on a single sensor type, subsequent implementations often use inputs from both LiDAR and RADAR, and sometimes also cameras, to gain a more detailed and integrated picture of road conditions, hazards, other cars, pedestrians, etc.
In addition, cabin sensors and driver monitoring sensors using mm wave RADAR are increasingly playing a role to provide enhanced passenger safety and to augment driver assistance applications.
Sensor Deployment Challenges
Managing these escalating data flows will require interconnect solutions that support high-speed standards-based communications protocols such as Gigabit Ethernet and Car Area Network (CAN), while conforming to stringent automotive environmental requirements. The ongoing transition from CAN to Ethernet is also significantly raising the bar with regard to higher bandwidth and escalating data flows.
A second key challenge will be in the sensor housings, which need to not only physically protect the sensors but also to manage increasing thermal issues, provide shielding for electro-magnetic interference (EMI) issues, and mitigate vibration and shock issues.
Sensor Housing and Communications Technology Approaches
As shown in Figure 3, the SAE has defined various progressive levels of autonomous driving, ranging from providing alerts to manual driving up through partial automation at the ADAS level and on to full automation at the ADS level. Production systems currently are in the Level 2 to Level 2+ range, with some highly watched experiments in the Level 4 to 5 range.
Building on a long history of success as a trusted partner in the automotive industry, Interplex has taken the initiative to create a full set of enabling technologies, such as simulation and design optimization of thermal solution and Signal Integrity.
Interplex’s customization services, combined with vertical integration and volume manufacturing capabilities, can be readily adapted to applications-specific sensor deployment projects. This enables automakers to achieve greater product differentiation and manufacturing modularization to drive greater competitive advantage and speed time to market.
In addition, Interplex’s global footprint, combined with localized design, manufacturing and logistics resources provide the ability to engage closely with customers’ design teams from concept through design and prototyping, and into full volume production.