The following paper will discuss the latest developments that are taking place in the automobile industry pertaining to the development of a high-speed data bus standard. By 2005, it is likely that we will see the introduction of numerous high-speed, real time multimedia applications proliferating into the vehicle. These applications will provide the car owner access to information, entertainment, communication, and safety as well as the Internet. These systems will also drive the need to have a high-speed data bus serving as a backbone for data traffic between different applications. Currently, the minimum bus speed being considered for such applications is 100 Mbps, which is suitable for transmitting a compressed video and audio data stream. Concerns about electromagnetic interference (EMI) and weight have driven the physical media requirement to be plastic optical fiber (POF).
Worldwide working groups and consortiums have been attempting to achieve the goal of developing one high-speed data bus standard that will be used across the automotive industry. The ERTICO group, out of Europe, has led the initial charge and has consolidated the list of potential standards down to five. Two relatively new groups have surfaced over the past year. One of these new groups, called AMIC (Automotive Multimedia Interface Collaboration), is made up of 96% of the worldwide car manufacturers. The second group, the IDB (Intelligent Data Bus) Forum, is made up of over 60 companies including vehicle manufacturers, bus developers, the consumer electronics industry and IC developers. This group will further ERTICO's efforts and will choose one bus standard. As of June, there are two standards, MOST and 1394b (Firewire), that are potential automotive multimedia bus candidates. These standards are under review by AMIC and the IDB Forum. The focus of this paper will be describing the key features and major limitations of each of the two bus standards.
The 1394 Automotive Working Group was formed in January 2000 with the goal of adapting 1394 to meet automotive requirements, primarily focusing on the physical layer and defining the automotive protocol stack on top of 1394. This group is working together with both AMIC and the IDB Forum. The MOST specification is being developed by the MOST Consortium.