Advanced driving assistance system (ADAS) is replacing the main engine of the car, which inevitably requires more space and power. So how can an automotive OEM take something out of the mainframe and add more ADAS functions?

Automobile chip manufacturer Maxim integrated has an idea. It needs to replace multiple radio tuner circuits inside the host with a single tuner located near the antenna, and then connect the tuner to the main processor in the host to perform baseband tasks.

In the traditional architecture, the front ends of multiple radio tuners are connected to the host through analog cables. When transmitting signals from the antenna to the host, these cables are inherently vulnerable to noise and heat dissipation. In addition, each tuner requires its own baseband hardware.

Maxim brings a remote tuner solution that is located near the antenna to free up space in the host (Figure 1). It digitizes the tuner output for transmission to the host via a coaxial cable that carries both radio signals and power. The result is lower thermal overhead, less noise, and lower cable weight and cost.

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The key building block of the remote tuner solution is the max2175 analog / digital hybrid radio receiver IC, which provides unified hardware for various radio broadcast standards such as am, FM, DMB, etc. It uses Maxim’s 14 bit gmsl SerDes pairs and sends them to the host via a low-cost coaxial cable.

Compared with analog signals, digital signals are less susceptible to noise and heat dissipation. Maxim’s RF to bits tuner also allows baseband processing to be performed in software within the host SOC, eliminating the need for a separate baseband processor (Figure 2).

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William Chu, general manager of Maxim automotive business unit, said that a single hardware applicable to all radio standards can allow automobile manufacturers to simplify the host design and reduce power consumption. “One digital cable instead of four analog cables also reduces cost and weight and improves radio performance,” Chu said.

In addition, in order to promote the software defined radio (SDR) method of baseband processing, Maxim, in cooperation with Fraunhofer IIS, a digital audio expert in Munich, is providing a core development kit (CDK) for automotive engineers. For its part, Fraunhofer IIS claims to have developed a complete SDR solution for Maxim’s infotainment hardware.

Reviewed by: Guoting

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