Semiconductor Value Chain

Broadcom Offers 5G Combo Chip for Cars

25 September 2013

Broadcom Corp. this week launched a new line of wireless chips for automotive infotainment applications featuring its 5G Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Broadcom's wireless automotive chips will allow drivers and passengers to sync and stream content from mobile devices to the car's infotainment system and rear-seat displays.

The chips, based on the latest generation IEEE 802.11ac standard, also enable high-speed connectivity to the Internet and cloud content via LTE telematics or directly from a hot spot connection, according to Broadcom (Irvine, Calilf.).

The 5G Wi-Fi technology offers the bandwidth required for multiple in-car displays and resolution of up to 1080p, allowing uncongested 5GHz video to coexist concurrently with 2.4GHz Bluetooth hands-free operation, Broadcom said.

According to Dmytro Koshevy, a research associate at IHS, Broadcom's wireless automotive 5G Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart Ready technology will allow drivers and passengers to sync and stream content from mobile devices to the in-vehicle infotainment system and rear-seat displays. "The new chips also enable high-speed connectivity beyond the vehicle, serving Internet and cloud content via LTE telematics or directly from a Hot Spot connection," Koshevy said.

Broadcom claims Bluetooth Smart Ready technology, designed to draw power at an incremental rate, will play a vital role in enabling connectivity between the car and wearable tech and body sensors, such as the ability to monitor biometric indicators including driver fatigue, blood alcohol content and glucose levels.

"Car connectivity is the new battleground for product differentiation and the next frontier for Broadcom," said Rahul Patel, vice president of wireless connectivity at Broadcom. "By providing the same technology and roadmap associated with the fast-moving mobile ecosystem, the possibilities enabled by our new wireless automotive chips are endless."

Analysts predict the use of in-car Wi-Fi-enabled applications to grow eightfold by 2019 as carmakers leverage the latest technologies to differentiate in an increasingly competitive market.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart implemented in a remote will allow drivers to use their smartphone to remotely adjust seat, temperature and infotainment settings while providing vital data on automotive performance and diagnostics.

The technology will be applied to vehicle to person, vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications (V2X), according to Broadcom.

Infrastructure development and smart highway initiatives are already underway throughout Europe and the United States. In the U.S., the Smart Roadside program, a joint modal initiative between Federal Highway Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Administration, is researching how to facilitate the flow of commercial vehicle traffic while preserving roadway infrastructure. The program seeks collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to IHS, the automotive wireless market is projected to reach $1.6 billion by 2018. Annual shipments of Bluetooth Smart ICs are projected to grow by more than 10 fold by 2018, according to IHS.

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