Canadian tech company BlackBerry Inc. has partnered with fiber optics maker Molex to develop a secure ethernet networking platform that will allow connected vehicles to process information more quickly.
The system will increase data bandwidth and the speed at which data moves in intelligent connected vehicles.
Financial terms of the deal reached on Jan. 4 were not disclosed.
As vehicles become more autonomous, their need for high-speed and high-bandwidth transmissions increases. Added sensors, additional cameras and image recognition mean more data is transferred within the vehicle and between others on the road.
“Secure high-bandwidth ethernet represents the future of in-vehicle and V2X connectivity,” Molex Advanced Technology Manager Eric Scott said in a statement. “The industry-leading 10 Gbps ethernet automotive network supports secure and reliable data transmission between multiple hardware and embedded software systems enabling end-to-end data integration and data prioritization for intelligent vehicles.”
By comparison, the typical high-speed of a short-range home network is between five and seven Gbps.
“Molex uses high-speed ethernet because there are more units and devices [inside a vehicle]. You have an increasing number of sensors, particularly cameras, that need high speed and low latency,” Jim Alfred, vice president of BlackBerry Technology Solutions, Certicom told Automotive News Canada in an interview.
Certicom is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlackBerry Inc. It specializes in device security, anti-counterfeiting and product authentication. While Molex focuses on delivery speed, Certicom will be responsible for keeping the data transfer secure.
“If you think about the value of a car today, it’s all the electronics,” Alfred said. “Certicom secures the end points.”
Prior to in-vehicle ethernet, several units and components of the vehicle -- from engine control units to electronic control units and a chassis control box -- were connected with a complex system of wiring.
Need for speed
As far back as 2012 tech magazine Wired predicted “ethernet will be the next in-car connectivity standard,” saying “it be instrumental in helping automakers boost the fuel efficiency by reducing weight.”
“Automotive has been looking at ethernet for a long time. Molex see an opportunity to push these [networking] standards forward,” Alfred said. “Some of the advanced OEMs are looking at automotive ethernet because they do see increasing needs for high-band width communication.”
As Molex technology increases the speed -- and potentially decreases weight -- Certicom’s “digital certificates” keep everything safe. They can identify the manufacturer of a number of components used in vehicles and connected by ethernet. It can detect fraudulent, cloned, black-listed or illegal components when they are used in vehicles. For example, instead of relying on just VINs to identify entire cars that were damaged in a flood, Certicom can identify each part that was in the car so they can’t be sold as used or refurbished.
“The car can now know it’s talking to an authorized telematics platform,” Alfred explained. “You’re starting to put sensors and controllers throughout the vehicle, and you want to know you’re talking to the right unit and that the unit giving you the information is secure and encrypted.”