As more systems for autonomous driving, telematics, analytics and infotainment are being designed into vehicles, the communications bridges between and around these systems increasingly are coming under the spotlight.
In many cases, serializer/deserializer (SerDes) blocks do much of the works as interfaces between various systems, but SerDes technology, though it continues to advance, has been around for many years. It was not conceived with the current era of in-car connectivity in mind, one in which self-driving capabilities, AI-based analytics and increasing concerns around security are driving requirements for better performance and high data rates.
Aviva Technology Holding, which this week announced $26.5 million in new funding, is looking to position a successor to SerDes.
“The automotive market currently uses analog SerDes technologies that were designed more than 10 years ago for applications such as backup cameras,” said Kamal Dalmia, co-founder and COO of Aviva Links, a subsidiary of the holding company, via email. “These solutions were designed for the pre self-driving era that needed basic functionality for human vision (backup and surround view cameras). These applications required much lower data rates and lacked key attributes such as security. Going forward, the market needs solutions for moving high resolution uncompressed data for machine vision including AI to realize ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and infotainment functions.”
Aviva is not supplying many specifics about its solution yet, describing the company’s mission as “building secured in-vehicle connectivity integrated circuits (IC) solutions that can move [in-car system] data at multi-gigabit speeds while meeting the performance, power, security and cost requirements of this market.”
David Young, co-founder and CEO of Aviva Links, added in a statement. “In applications such as autonomous driving where data needs to be received and analyzed in nano-seconds, speed and accuracy is not only critical, but also life-saving. The Aviva solution addresses this significant market need with a highly integrated circuit solution that finally makes low latency multi-gigabit data sharing in vehicles a reality.”
Aviva also did not share specifics about how soon its technology would be available. Dalmai said the funding will help the company accelerate its R&D and marketing programs, and that the company already is working “with key automakers towards commercialization of the technology. The industry is on an accelerated deployment path due to the urgent needs of ADAS and infotainment applications.”
Meanwhile, SerDes technology continues to evolve. For example, the MIPI Alliance last month produced a new whitepaper on its MIPI Automotive SerDes Solution (MASS), and continues to advance the data rates and performance of its specifications for in-car connectivity.
Of note, Aviva’s funding round was led by Marvell Technology Group’s husband and wife co-founders Sehat Sutardja and Weili Dai, along with other semiconductor industry investors with participation from SAFE round investors, according to Aviva. Sutardja also is joining Aviva’s board. This move comes about five years after Sutardja and Dai reportedly were dismissed from Marvell over controversies regarding the company’s operations and accounting practices.