NXP, TTTech jointly develop automotive Ethernet switch chips

September 18, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
NXP and TTTech AG of Austria have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop automotive Ethernet switch solutions supporting OPEN Alliance BroadR-Reach Ethernet PHY technology. The switch chip will be specifically designed for the automotive market, but will also be suitable for various demanding industrial real-time applications.

NXP, with its strategic focus on the connected car, has been working with industry partners to establish BroadR-Reach as an open, de facto standard for in-vehicle Ethernet. As the first automotive semiconductor vendor to license Broadcom's BroadR-Reach technology to develop an Ethernet PHY, NXP is taking the next step towards an integrated Ethernet switch chip in close cooperation with TTTech. The Austrian company disposes of significant expertise in the technology of dependable networking solutions based on time-triggered technology. Under the agreement, TTTech will provide the switch IP, while NXP implements the IP into Ethernet switch solutions with integrated PHY. The products will be ready for stringent automotive EMC, quality and reliability standards and automotive volume production.

According to Tony Verslujis, General Manager of NXP's in-vehicle networking products, the increasing bandwidth demand of in-car applications will make Ethernet switches a necessity. Applications could be next-generation camera-based driver assistance systems where the camera signal is utilized by multiple data sinks.

TTTech has developed an automotive Ethernet switch IP solution based on its long-term real-time Ethernet experience in several vertical markets with high electronic robustness requirements including the aerospace, space and energy segments. TTTech’s solutions support the trend towards the demand for increasing bandwidth requirements, higher focus on reliability in networked control systems as well as high availability in fail-operational applications, like driver assistance systems. Several standards including standard Ethernet (IEEE 802.3), Time-Triggered Ethernet (SAE AS6802) as well as AVB 1.0 and the evolving TSN (Time Sensitive Network) are supported in TTTech’s chip IP.

The jointly developed switch chip will enable applications with unshielded twisted pair cabling with BroadR-Reach PHY technology. It is the first Ethernet switch chip with three incorporated traffic classes including standard Ethernet traffic for diagnostics and ECU flashing, asynchronous rate-constrained traffic for audio/video streaming and sensor fusion, as well as synchronous traffic for hard real-time control and fail-operational systems. Hence, this new automotive switch chip will enable unified Ethernet