MIPI Alliance Releases A-PHY SerDes Interface for Automotive

September 15, 2020 Tiera Oliver

MIPI Alliance  announced the availability of MIPI A-PHY v1.0, which according to the company is the first industry-standard, long-reach serializer-deserializer (SerDes) physical layer interface. According to the company, the new specification, available to MIPI members, provides an asymmetric data link in a point-to-point topology, providing high-speed unidirectional data, embedded bidirectional control data, and optional power delivery over a single cable.

A-PHY v1.0 offers:

  • Low packet error rate (PER) of 10-19 for unprecedented performance over the vehicle lifetime;
  • High immunity to EMC effects in demanding automotive conditions;
  • Long reach: Up to 15 meters;
  • Performance: Data rate as high as 16 Gbps with a roadmap to 48 Gbps and beyond; v1.1, already in development, will provide a doubling of the high-speed data rate to 32 Gbps and increase the uplink data rate to 200 Mbps .

In conjunction with the availability of A-PHY v1.0, the Alliance introduced MIPI Automotive SerDes Solutions (MASS). MASS will provide automotive OEMs and their suppliers with end-to-end connectivity solutions for the growing number of cameras, sensors, and displays that enable automotive applications. These solutions, with functional safety and security built in at the protocol level, will help automakers integrate new and emerging safety features such as low-latency backup cameras, lane-keeping and sign-detection sensors and 360-degree camera, lidar, and radar systems. MASS also will support multiple high-resolution instrumentation, control, and entertainment displays.

Through the development of additional supporting specifications, MASS will allow proven higher-layer protocols from MIPI (such as MIPI CSI-2 and DSI-2) and third parties to operate over physical links spanning an entire vehicle, eliminating the need for proprietary “bridges” and PHYs.

With A-PHY as the physical layer, the MASS protocol stack consists of:

  • Higher-layer protocols such as MIPI CSI-2 and DSI-2, with updated versions to be available later this year and early 2021;
  • Protocol adaptation layers (PALs) that map protocols to A-PHY's A-Packet format for transmission over A-PHY. PALs for MIPI CSI-2 and DSI-2, and for lower bandwidth interfaces such as I²C, I2S, GPIO and Ethernet100, are expected to be completed later this year, and an I3C PAL can be expected in 2021. In addition, MIPI is working with other organizations to leverage additional established protocols. As one such effort, MIPI has extended its liaison with VESA and is actively developing an adaptation layer for use with its DisplayPort and Embedded DisplayPort standards. 
  • MIPI camera service extensions (CSE) and display service extensions (DSE) in development will add functional safety and security capabilities required for ADAS, self-driving and other applications, and will also provide high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) as required for display applications. 

According to the company, MASS will address functional safety over heterogeneous protocols and numerous topologies, including daisy chaining, according to ISO 26262. System-level engineers can use this architecture to build systems that meet ASIL (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) requirements at any level, from ASIL B to ASIL D. MASS also will provide end-to-end security to include authentication, integrity and confidentiality for data protection of MASS camera, sensor, and display components.  

For more information, visit: https://www.mipi.org/

About the Author

Tiera Oliver, edtorial intern for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits as well as newsletter updates. She also assists in news content as far as constructing and editing stories. Before interning for ECD, Tiera had recently graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.A. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university's student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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