Special Coverage

2010 Convergence

DETROIT – The MOST Cooperation, which provides the communication backbone for information and entertainment equipment in 100 vehicle models worldwide, has added five new member companies and is preparing to launch its latest network on the next-generation Audi A3 5-door hatchback.

The Media Oriented Systems Transport consortium, based in Karlsruhe, Germany, was founded in 1998 to standardize multimedia networking and allows vast stretches of heavy copper wiring harnesses to be replaced by a single plastic optical fiber cable, enabling multiple electronic devices to communicate with one other simultaneously.

Sixteen international auto makers and more than 60 component suppliers belong to MOST and work together to devise electrical standards intended to save the industry time and money when developing new audio, navigation and back-seat entertainment systems.

The first car using MOST was the BMW 7-Series flagship sedan, in 2001. At the time, the network was capable of accommodating transmission of 25 megabits per second. That system, known as MOST25, remains popular in Europe and Korea.

The Japanese and U.S. markets generally prefer the second-generation MOST50, which has bandwidth of 50 Mbps.

This week at the SAE Convergence auto electronics conference, consortium officials discuss the rollout of the next-generation MOST150, which offers much faster bandwidth of 150 Mbps.

That’s enough capacity to transmit video images to 40 display screens, all across a single lightweight plastic optical fiber cable.

Several auto makers are preparing to launch MOST150 in vehicles beginning in 2012, and the new Audi A3 will be the first. Afterward, the technology will roll out with each new vehicle lanching in the Volkswagen Group, the German auto maker says.

Audi was an early adopter of MOST, deploying the technology in 2002 as the established standard for networking of premium infotainment systems.

MOST150 enables the parallel usage of multiple functions, including synchronous streaming for transmitting multi-channel audio, an Ethernet channel for data transmission and a control channel to accommodate peripheral devices, such as cameras, video processors and MP3 players.

Also at Convergence, officials say the additional bandwidth makes MOST150 ideally suited for new uses beyond multimedia and entertainment. Potential new safety applications could include driver-assistance technologies such as lane-departure warning, camera systems and adaptive cruise control.

Five new member companies joining MOST are:

  • Bang & Olufsen
  • olex Inc.
  • Nippon Seiki Co. Ltd.
  • Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd.
  • TTTech Computertechnik AG

MOST’s core partners and steering committee consist of Daimler AG, BMW AG, Audi AG, Standard Microsystems Corp. and Harman/Becker Automotive Systems GmbH.

tmurphy@wardsauto.com