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MIPI A-PHY v1.0 SerDes Specification for Automotive Now Available

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Update: MIPI A-PHY was adopted as an IEEE standard in June 2021 and is also available as IEEE 2977-2021.

Innovations in automotive safety, automation and connectivity, including advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), comprehensive in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and autonomous driving systems, are transforming vehicle design. New models coming in the next few years will have more high-resolution cameras, more advanced radar and lidar sensors, and more high-definition displays. All this will depend on reliable high-performance connections between sensors and displays and onboard computers, with functional safety and security built in.

MIPI A-PHYSM v1.0, now available to MIPI members, will play a central role in making those connections possible. A-PHY v1.0 is the first industry-standard, long-reach, asymmetric serializer-deserializer (SerDes) physical layer interface specification. It is designed to provide high-speed data transfers throughout a vehicle and complement existing network backbones. A-PHY v1.0 offers data rates as high as 16 Gbps at a range of up to 15 meters. A-PHY v1.1, already in development, will double the peak data rate to 32 Gbps, as part of a roadmap to 48 Gbps and beyond.

The release of A-PHY v1.0 is a major step forward in MIPI's strategy to standardize powerful end-to-end standard interfaces for automotive. Used in place of the proprietary PHYs in most vehicles today, MIPI A-PHY allows automotive OEMs and their suppliers to simplify in-car networks and cut cost, weight and development time—while increasing choice in the market.

MIPI A-PHY forms the cornerstone of MIPI Automotive SerDes Solutions (MASSSM), a series of full-stack connectivity solutions that will extend the use of established interface protocols throughout vehicles over A-PHY. Using a set of A-PHY protocol adaptation layers (PALs), MASS includes solutions for implementing MIPI CSI-2SM and DSI-2SM, already widely used in automotive sensors and displays, over the long-reach A-PHY from end to end. Through collaborations between MIPI and other organizations, MASS will also support third-party protocols, including VESA Embedded DisplayPort/DisplayPort (eDP/DP).

MASS incorporates functional safety, security and reliability at the protocol level, helping designers achieve product compliance with the ISO 26262 automotive safety standard while achieving high immunity to EMI effects and an ultra-low packet error rate of 10-19 over the life of a vehicle.

Development work on PALs for MIPI CSI-2 and DSI-2, and lower-bandwidth interfaces such as I2C, I2S, GPIO and Ethernet100, is already underway and expected to be completed later this year. A PAL for MIPI I3C® will be available in 2021. Service extensions for functional safety, security and high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) are also under development, as is a compliance test suite for A-PHY.

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