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Maxim Integrated GMSL™ Provides Robust Sensor Links For Nvidia’s Jetson Platform
The global push for a driver-less vehicle has significantly increased the deployment of  advanced driver assistance systems & high resolution infotainment systems in today’s cars and trucks. This trend is driving the need for automotive grade communication technology that is reliable, supports high bandwidth, and can manage complex interconnects with ease. This technology must be capable of connecting a myriad of high-speed sensors located throughout the vehicle to the sensor fusion box and also display the inferred data along with additional in-vehicle infotainment content. Traditionally used automotive networks such as CAN, LIN and FlexRay do not meet the above criterion.

Gigabit Multimedia Serial Link™ (GMSL) is an automotive grade high-speed communication protocol that fully supports the high bandwidth, complex interconnect, and data integrity requirements needed to support evolving automotive infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

GMSL-based SerDes can be used for driving high-resolution central-/rear-seat displays and instrument clusters, megapixel camera, LiDAR and radar systems. They easily address the low-power requirements and the widely varying bandwidth requirements of sensor data aggregation. Advanced link integrity and diagnostic capabilities enable a breakthrough in link performance monitoring—a vital capability to the design of automotive safety systems. Using shielded twisted pair (STP) or coax cables of up to 15 meters, GMSL SerDes ICs meet the most stringent electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements of the automotive industry. Spread-spectrum capability is built into each SerDes design to improve the electromagnetic interference (EMI) performance of the link, without the need for an external spread-spectrum clock. Interoperation of serializers and deserializers within the family allows the use of different interfaces at each end of the link.

The MAX9295A-MAX9296A SerDes pair from the GMSL2 family have wide adoption in the following applications:
  • High-resolution camera systems (surround view cam, rear view cam)
  • Safety critical ADAS systems (forward cam, pillar cam, LiDAR, radar)

Device features include:
  • Automotive-grade PHY supports up to -21db of insertion loss from transmit to sync (example: 15 meters of aged Leoni Dacar 302 coax cable with 2 interconnects)
  • 6Gbps forward link rate supports bandwidth requirements of 1MP to 8MP imagers
  • Safety ready solutions – ASIL B rated

The Nvidia’s Jetson camera platform uses the MAX9296A GMSL2 Des to link up to 8 cameras to the Jetson® AGX Xavier module. This platform can support GMSL2-based cameras (e.g. cameras using MAX9295A Ser) or GMSL1-based cameras. Power to the cameras is provided by PoC (Power over Coax) so all the data, control signals, and power are sent through a single 50 Ohm Coaxial cable. This allows for flexibility in cable routing and ease of installation in automotive applications. With this development platform customers can rapidly define, bring up, and deploy an imager system and reduce time to market.
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