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Efficient optical technology from KDPOF for safe backbone in vehicles

On August 13, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. IST (Indian Standard Time, 6:00 to 7:30 a.m. UTC), César Esteban will give the online seminar “The Use of Plastic Optical Fiber in the Automotive Industry”. The seminar is organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers India (SAE India).

Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) is becoming an integral part of the vehicle with interfaces to many different clusters of the electric/electronic systems in the automotive industry. POF is the medium of choice for automotive networks, primarily due to its versatility and is the best alternate solution to existing wiring technology. The key advantages of the optical solution are, among others, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) thanks to its inherent galvanic isolation, robustness, low weight, and low cost. In his seminar, César Esteban will cover the following topics: the need for automotive wire line connectivity to evolve to Ethernet, advantages of optical links, use cases for fiber optics, as well as POF value chain and proposal.

For more information, please see the seminar brochure from SAE India.

Registration is open.

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Verify digital logic using SystemVerilog and reusable, standardized methodologies. Verify digital systems that use both custom and standard IP components and interconnects, including microprocessor cores and hierarchical memory subsystems.
  • Contribute to verification and modeling at the chip top level.
  • Debug tests with design engineers to deliver functionally correct design blocks. Work closely with the design and test teams to define test specifications, verification plans and manufacturing transfer.

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KDPOF Contact information

Tasks and Responsibilities

Member of the R&D team in charge of the development of embedded firmware running on the company integrated circuits microprocessors, as well as development of the test programs used in production testing. The responsibilities of the Firmware/Test Engineer also include:

  • Development of the continuous integration tests of the microprocessor firmware during ASIC prototyping.
  • Participate in specification and review of the PCBs used to implement the production testing of the company’s products.
  • Participation on the development of technology evaluation vehicles as well as software development kits.
  • Automatization of laboratory tests and measurements using programming languages like Matlab, TCL, Python.

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Job opening: Senior Mixed-Signal IC Design Engineer

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Specification of the analog and mixed signal blocks that are embedded in the system (ADC, DAC, PLL, data interfaces, optoelectronics …).
  • Design (from schematic to full verification at extracted level) of the analog and mixed-signal blocks in sub-nanometric CMOS processes. It means being involved in the full AMS design flow: system-level design, schematic, layout and full verification.
  • Definition of layout guidelines for layout engineers and review of their work.
  • Collaboration with the test engineers for the testing definition of the fabricated ICs. Review and analysis of lab characterization data for validation and correlation with simulation results.

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Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Implement ASIC / SoCs / FPGAs for multiple products, starting at the specification & design phase, continuing through technology selection, implementation, and validation. Innovation in performance, power and cost to build the best possible product is a must.
  • Participate in all phases of ASIC / FPGA design flow (Synthesis, Place & Route, and Timing Closure) as required.
  • Work with backend teams to address any layout and timing issues for ASICs.
  • Verification by emulation with FPGAs in the lab.
  • Involvement in lead-up, validation, characterization and qualification phases of ASICs.

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We are proud to participate in the EPIC (European Photonics Industry Consortium) network and connect with over 700 member companies in 35 countries. “EPIC is the ideal community to further drive the joint development and standardization of multi-gigabit technology in vehicles, which offers the automotive market an optical solution that is both competitive and robust,” stated Carlos Pardo. As the industry association with the largest network, EPIC fosters a vibrant photonics ecosystem by maintaining a strong network and acting as a catalyst and facilitator for technological and commercial advancement. In addition, it maintains the European photonics database. On these grounds, we are growing an ecosystem of partners that will be greatly fostered thanks to the EPIC cluster.

IEEE 802.3 Automotive Optical Multi-Gigabit Standard

With technological leaps such as electrical vehicles, automated driving, and V2X interconnection rushing forward, automotive applications, utilization, and safety requirements are boosting the necessary network speed tremendously. Consequently, in-vehicle networks are on the brink of speeds from one to multiple gigabits per second. With the approval of the IEEE 802.3 working group, a team of individuals affiliated with more than 15 key carmakers and components suppliers, including KDPOF, is working on the standardization of an IEEE 802.3 Automotive Optical Multi-Gigabit Standard with strong support from the industry.

The key advantages of the optical solution for specific applications using multi-gigabit speeds with in-vehicle connectivity are, among others, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) thanks to the inherent galvanic isolation, low weight, and low cost. Use cases include the interconnectivity of telematics control modules, redundant and safe backbones for autonomous driving architectures, and advanced driver assist system (ADAS) sensors. The technology will be scalable in order to enable even higher data rates such as 50 and 100 Gbps in the future. By combining optimization in all areas of the new standard, the right balance of complexity and cost among all parts (CMOS IC, VCSEL, PD, ferrules, sleeves, cable, in-line connection technology, optics, and lenses, etc.) can be achieved in order to deliver the lowest cost, most reliable, and most highly scalable solution to the automotive market.

Carlos Pardo is CEO and Co-founder of KDPOF

For BlastingTalks – Blasting News’ exclusive interviews with business and cultural leaders – Carlos Pardo has given an interview about KDPOF’s alternative to traditional fiber optics that allows for use in harsh environments and requires no technical expertise to install:

Carlos Pardo, CEO of KDPOF: Government support for entrepreneurs must be strong and sustained

The original interview is in Spanish: Carlos Pardo CEO de KDPOF – ‘el apoyo del Gobierno a los emprendedores debe ser firme y sostenido’. Following is an excerpt.

BlastingTalks: KDPOF’s technology enables an innovative and cost-effective high-speed optical network for harsh environments. What was the reason for setting up your company?

The historical reason arose when my partner was preparing a doctoral thesis on this technology, and we discussed the fact that there was room to establish a business for its exploitation. At the beginning, we were giving it a lot of thought, both commercially and technically; it took us a year to decide, and in the end we decided to start. That was 11 years ago.

What are the applications of the technology that KDPOF provides to its clients?

Right now, we are focused on three markets. The biggest one is automotive, which allows us to connect different parts of the vehicle with high-speed optical networks, which are becoming more and more numerous. Looking at the evolution of the vehicle, it’s now almost a big computer with huge capabilities, connected to the Internet, with cameras everywhere, that can drive itself, and so on. All of that brings with it tremendous data transfer requirements, and the optical networks that use our technology are optimal for that.

Another market is the home, to simplify backbone installation. Today, many of us are teleworking and the children are studying at home, and it is proving that the network in our homes is not up to the task. The access is very good because the fiber is deployed to the home, but the Wi-Fi does not meet the needs of applications such as teleworking. When plastic fiber is installed inside the home, the differences from the previous situation based on WiFi alone are enormous, such as being able to have 600 MB in any corner of the house. I still have access to WiFi, but as if I were next to the operator’s router.

The third market is the industrial market, which is made up of a variety of smaller, more horizontal markets, in very disparate applications, such as medical, rail, printing, etc.

KDPOF works with a wide range of low-cost, large-core plastic optical fibers. What other benefits do your customers get?

Using fibers that are plastic and very thick allows several things, such as very simple manipulation that can be done by anyone; they are fibers that don’t need any knowledge to manipulate them. This simplifies the installation process a lot and also gives a great robustness to the links. Traditional fibers may be affected by vibrations or a connector that’s in bad condition. These factors don’t affect plastic fiber, since the core is very thick and the material is flexible. This is what we are successful with: when people see how simple to install and robust it is, they lose their fear of optical communications.

The world has suffered a major health crisis that has affected all economic sectors; how did it affect your company? How did you live through the months of confinement?

The R&D part didn’t change much because people worked from home, and those who had to go to the laboratory came since there were only one or two people at any given time. What has changed the most is the outside world: the automotive market stopped manufacturing integrated circuits and cars during the pandemic. That caused the world’s semiconductor manufacturers to allocate production capacity to large companies like Apple or Huawei. Now, the semiconductor industry is in crisis because it doesn’t have the capacity to manufacture all the pent-up demand in both the automotive and commercial industries. There is a deficit in chip production, and that has affected us quite a lot. Now, in addition, we’re facing a shortage crisis with the deployment of 5G technology and it is something that has aggravated the pandemic even more because many more computers are needed than before, for example.

How would you like to see your company evolve, and what challenges do you see in the short and medium term?

Right now, we’re getting more car manufacturers to adopt our technology; this is a great achievement in the medium and long term. From an R&D point of view, we’re developing the technology of the future, a technology that enables speeds of up to 50-100 Gb/s. To be a world leader, we would like to have more support from companies such as Telefónica; to have them adopt our technology for the home network as a complement to their WiFi. In the long term, I would like KDPOF not to be sold to a foreign company and for the knowledge and industry creation to disappear, but to be supported by Spanish or, failing that, European capital, so that the positive externalities of all this effort would remain in our country or in Europe. That would be my wish in the long term.

At the virtual Wire Harness Congress on September 22, 2021, KDPOF will inform about the status of Optical Multi-gigabit Connectivity in vehicles. In their presentation at 11:45, Juergen Schachtschneider, Automotive Manager Central Europe & Greater China, and César Esteban, Applications & Support Manager, will propose a complete optical communications system, which is under development by KDPOF and their industry partners.

As the auto industry approaches the 50 Gb/s*m speed-length threshold, the need to move from copper to optical physical data transmission media is becoming mandatory. Optical is the engineering-wise path for higher data rates. Together with several industry leaders, KDPOF is working on an optical communications system that will complement existing copper networks. Instead of various single devices, the new solution provides a complete package. The proposed Multi-gigabit system leverages existing technologies, as VCSELs (Vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser), multimode fibers and photodiodes already developed for the data centers industry. It will support Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE) tailored for automotive applications. The target BER is better than 10-12 with ambient operating temp from -40ºC up to 105ºC (AEC-Q100 grade 2) in harsh automotive environments. High reliability (15 yrs operation, less than 10 FIT) and outstanding EMC compliance will also be fulfilled. The technology in development is based on advanced digital signal processing based on high-speed DAC and ADC to implement all needed algorithms such as equalization or pre-coding. First engineering samples of the new automotive, single-chip, fully integrated Fiber Optic Transceiver package solution for 10 Gb/s will be available in fall 2021. A new optical automotive IVN communication standard is currently under development within IEEE under the name 802.3cz and is supported by several industry-leading companies.

We look forward to meeting you online at the congress! For any inquiries, please feel free to contact Juergen Schachtschneider.

KDPOF is looking forward to participating in the upcoming virtual ISCAS 2020 from October 10 to 21 with several contributions: a presentation on multi-gigabit Ethernet for the automotive industry, an overview lecture on high-speed data communications over POF, and an important role in the final industry panel session. The IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) is the flagship conference of the IEEE Circuits and Systems (CAS) Society and the world’s premiere networking forum for researchers in the highly active fields of theory, design, and implementation of circuits and systems.

Presentation: Towards the Multi-Gigabit Ethernet for the Automotive Industry

On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, from 17:15 to 18:55, session Chairmen Enrique Prefasi Sen, Analog and Mixed Signal Senior Designer of KDPOF, and Alberto Rodríguez-Pérez, Analog and Mixed Signal Manager of KDPOF, will present the paper “Towards the Multi-Gigabit Ethernet for the Automotive Industry”. The paper, within the special session “Multi-gigabit Wireline & Optical Communication Circuits & Systems Session”, will show the status of Ethernet-based communication solutions, focused on optical links for the automotive industry. First, the presenters will display the implementation of a product compatible with the 1000BASE-RHC according to the IEEE Std 802.3bv, which is the first one able to transmit 1 Gbps over POF for automotive. Second, the KDPOF experts will describe a new architecture to achieve up to 25 Gbps for automotive. The proposed multi-gigabit system leverages existing technologies such as VCSELs, multi-mode fibers, and photodiodes already developed for the data center industry.

Lecture: High-Speed Data Communications over Plastic Optical Fibers

Alberto Rodríguez-Pérez will give an overview lecture on Saturday, October 17, 2020, from 16:00 to 16:45 in virtual room 2. In his lecture, Alberto will show an overview of the use of Plastic Optical Fiber as a medium for optical data communications and the techniques needed to get high speed data bitrates over POF. It is an interesting alternative optical communication channel to the Glass Optical Fibers (GOF) for applications that are not required to cover long distances, such as home or automotive networking. However, the reduced low bandwidth of the POF channel imposes big limitations in the maximum data bitrate that can be transmitted through this medium. Consequently, advanced data communication techniques such as channel equalization, data error correction, or data signal modulation need to be applied to achieve data bitrates above 1 Gbps.

Industry Panel

KDPOF is also substantially involved in the final Industrial Panel Discussion on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, from 16:45 to 17:45. Alberto Rodríguez-Pérez will chair the panel and Rubén Pérez de Aranda, CTO of KDPOF, will participate as panelist.

Aukua Systems Inc., provider of Ethernet test and monitoring solutions, and KDPOF are proud to announce the success of their technology partnership for ISO 21111 standardization. Recently, two additional sections, ISO 21111-3:2020 and ISO 21111-5:2020, of the international in-vehicle Ethernet ISO standard series 21111 have been published. “By providing their MGA2510 Ethernet Test and Monitoring Platform, Aukua Systems have supremely equipped the test setup for ISO certification,” stated Carlos Pardo, CEO and Co-founder of KDPOF.

Successful Technology Partnership Results in ISO Standard for Optical In-Vehicle Gigabit Connectivity

Suds Rajagopal is Co-Founder of Aukua Systems

Suds Rajagopal is Co-Founder of Aukua Systems

KDPOF supports the test ecosystem to make sure that ECUs including their technology will be tested by recognized test houses and based on the ISO standard. “We are delighted to support the overall standard for optical gigabit connectivity in vehicles with ISO 21111 complementing the existing IEEE Std 802.3bvTM,” added Suds Rajagopal, Co-Founder at Aukua Systems. “By leveraging Aukua’s test solutions, carmakers and Tier1s now have access to a complete, compatible, and interoperating implementation based on these standards.”

ISO 21111 Standardization

For reliable implementations of systems that implement in-vehicle Ethernet Optical 1 Gb/s as a physical layer, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has added two new sections to the in-vehicle Ethernet series 21111: ISO 21111-3:2020 specifies additional features to IEEE 802.3bv, such as wake-up and synchronized link sleep algorithms. ISO 21111-5:2020 specifies requirements at the system level and a complete conformance and interoperability test plan for ECU providers that implement optical 1 Gb/s physical layer as specified in ISO 21111-3.

About Aukua Systems
Aukua Systems Inc. is a leading provider of Ethernet testing and visibility solutions. Whether developing, validating, deploying, supporting or managing applications or networks, their products help improve performance and make networks more secure. The Aukua product line includes packet capture tools, analyzers, traffic generators, and impairment emulators. Since 2015, equipment manufacturers, semiconductor companies, automotive OEMs and Tier1’s, large enterprises, service providers, and government agencies worldwide have depended on Aukua to build stronger networks.