Installation Space and Temperature Reduction for the USB Customer Interface in Vehicles

Autonomous driving, driver assistance systems, e-mobility or big data: Numerous key trends within the automotive industry are leading the industry into a new age. For automotive manufacturers, this entails the integration of these trends into their future vehicles. What do these trends mean exactly for research and development departments? How can arising challenges be solved intelligently? What are the expectations of the car drivers and passengers, in particular, of the younger generations?

Even more powerful devices
Car drivers and passengers consider smartphones a constant companion throughout everyday life – this includes vehicles. Therefore, smartphones are expected to be incorporated seamlessly into the vehicle infrastructure. Currently, it is integrated with already well known interfaces, such as NFC for keyless systems, WIFI/LTE for internet connections, Bluetooth as local network, wireless charging or USB. These will of course still exist in the future. However, the end devices are becoming more and more powerful. This will allow for additional features that require higher data rates. At the same time, when developing new vehicles the designed products shall require as little installation space as possible.

The new USB type C standard
The USB interface is still a common standard for wired connections of mobile end devices within vehicles. Nowadays, new devices already feature a USB type C connector providing far more options compared to type A. In addition to the already established charging functions by Apple, USB 2.0 and USB 2.0 BC 1.2, the new type C standard allows for additional USB power delivery (PD) charging function of up to 100 W. Furthermore, this standard also supports the USB PD programmable power supply (PPS), also known as “fast charging” which is particularly used among the next generation of wireless communication end devices.

USB type C also benefits considerably from the new USB data transfer protocols. In addition to the common USB 2.0 High Speed variant of 480 Mbit/s, the new standard includes protocols such as USB 3.1 Super Speed with a transmission speed of up to 5 Gbit/s and USB 3.1 Super Speed+ with a transmission rate of up to 10 Gbit/s. Furthermore, USB alternate modes that allow for a transmission of partially native video signals, such as HDMI, Display Port, MHL or even Thunderbolt via a USB type C adapter and cables are also supported.

For transmission purposes, for example, a desktop mode must be integrated in the software of the mobile device which allows for the connection of external peripherals such as a monitor, mouse or keyboard with the device, and to operate these like a PC. Particularly in the field of rear seat entertainment, numerous new application options can be created.

You can read the full article in German here.