PSA takes the fast lane in automotive electronics

March 02, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
French carmaker PSA Group recently made headlines for its intention to take over competitor Opel / Vauxhall. Independently, PSA is currently on the fast track in terms of automotive electronics. At the recent Automotive Ethernet Congress in Munich, PSA top electronics developer Jean-François Salessy provided insights into the carmaker’s strategy in terms of electronics.

Like most of its competitors, PSA drives the development of its driver assistance systems towards higher degrees of automated driving; by 2020, the company plans to offer automated driving on highways with separate directional lanes. In 2022, the vehicles from PSA will be capable of automated overtaking on highways. In this context, the driver will still decide when to start the passing maneuver. Automated driving in urban environments is not on PSA’s roadmap, but the company is exploring the technology that would be needed. (On March 1, PSA received the permission to perform test drives in France with automated vehicles and lay drivers at the wheel).

Like BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, PSA is advocating the use of Automotive Ethernet as a data backbone for its vehicles. Presently, the central use case for this technology at PSA is the link between a smart antenna unit and a body control module. In this application, a single twisted pair Ethernet routes all communication streams between the vehicle and the outside world, including infotainment, vehicle diagnosis and vehicle management data. In one of the next steps, Salessy plans to establish Ethernet as the communication link for cameras, and later for lidar and radar. In such an environment, higher bandwidths will be needed. “Odds are that 100 Mbps won’t be the end of the story.” Salessy said. Headroom to grow the amounts of data could be offered by Gigabit Ethernet – appropriately, at the Munich event, Spanish chipmaker KDPOF introduced first samples of its plastic optical fiber (POF) transceiver chip for Automotive Gigabit Ethernet.