Automotive SerDes Alliance (ASA) completes the first Automotive SerDes standard with integrated security

By Stefan Brunner October 13, 2020

October 13th, 2020 (Munich) Today the Automotive SerDes Alliance (ASA) announced completion of its Automotive SerDes standard “ASA Motion Link v1.0”.  Along with other key features, it is the first solution to include security for asymmetric high-speed, multi-gigabit data transmission. This development marks an important turning point in the automotive industry. More than 50 members, including automobile manufacturers BMW, Ford, and Hyundai, have been working since May 2019 to develop the automotive SerDes specification.

Over the past few years the growing number of remote cameras and displays in automobiles has led to an explosive demand for automotive SerDes communication. Today, the market is served through proprietary solutions which are single sourced, miss necessary security protocols for state-of-the-art automotive use cases, and lack interoperability among each other.  Furthermore, these security protocols are important for supporting new privacy requirements in the realm of driver assistance/autonomous driving or infotainment. ASA has prioritized security from its inception, and defined a two-part security solution that protects communication traffic along with the tailor-made key management mechanism. The latter allows even small devices without microcontrollers to get relevant protection during the complete device life cycle.

Beyond security, the ASA Motion Link v1.0 offers more. For its specification, ASA was able to leverage the know-how of its members, who cumulatively cover the complete automotive ecosystem. With the participation of more than 20 semiconductor manufacturers and IP vendors, ASA was able to count on a wealth of innovation power and a competition for the best ideas to achieve robust, asymmetric high-speed communication in the demanding automotive environment. The definition of boundaries for this environment was established with the help of industry experts from cable, connector, and cabling harness manufacturers as well as EMC test houses, who are all members of ASA.

The essential characteristics of the ASA Motion Link v1.0 are:

  • Backwards compatible solutions for user data rates between 1.7 Gbps and 13 Gbps
  • Support of point-to-point links, daisy-chaining, and tree topologies with up to 16 nodes in an ASA SerDes branch
  • A precision time base: synchronized logical clock throughout the SerDes branch for event time-stamping and event generation
  • Efficient and collision-free bandwidth reservation for Gbps video streams and Mbps control streams with multi-cast support for up to four sinks
  • Automatic startup with programming from central intelligent ECU
  • Small diameter coaxial and STP cabling for up to 15m and 10m with multi-port connectors
  • Compatibility with high-current, high efficiency power-over-cable (PoC) delivery

A wide variety of interfaces and protocols for cameras and video data, as well as control traffic, are currently being used in the automotive industry – differing from OEM to OEM. ASA defined an approach which allows arbitrary protocols  to be used in conjunction with the ASA standardized protocol. This decisive advantage is enabled due to the inherent independence of the sender and receiver: With the ASA Motion Link v1.0, both ends of the communication can use completely different protocols and interfaces and can thus be easily integrated into the OEM’s architecture. This approach allows different protocols to share a medium and can result in less cables and a less complex cabling harness.

ASA would like to thank all their members for their tremendous support in this achievement.