Valens and Sony evaluate MIPI A-PHY for interior display and sensing

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Semiconductor manufacturer Valens has started an evaluation with Sony to develop and integrate MIPI A-PHY technology into next-generation image sensor products.

A-PHY is a long-reach serializer-deserializer (SerDes) physical layer interface for ultra-high-speed automotive applications. It was released by the MIPI Alliance in September 2020 as a standard seeking to simplify the integration of cameras, sensors and displays in vehicles, while also incorporating functional safety and security. Valens says it will be the first company to market with A-PHY-compliant chipsets, having recently completed a successful launch of its VA7000 chipset family.

“It’s highly important for Sony to integrate the cutting-edge technology into our image sensors, and A-PHY serializer integration will provide significant benefits for our customers,” said Kenji Onishi, general manager, automotive business department, Sony.

“The MIPI ecosystem is growing quickly, and we’re happy to be early adopters of this automotive connectivity standard. Valens is in a leading position with A-PHY, which is why it is so important for us to start this collaboration. We believe future models will have even higher resolutions. In addition, our company is preparing to integrate several features into their next-generation sensors, including metadata output, higher framerate, and wider bit depth – all of which will require an ultra-high-speed, long-reach connectivity solution such as MIPI A-PHY. We will continue to support not only A-PHY but also D-PHY, proprietary interfaces, and open-standard interfaces.”

The company says that integration of A-PHY into system components such as image sensors and SoCs should eliminate the need for proprietary bridge solutions to extend CSI-2 and DSI-2 data streams, which should simplify car architecture and lower total system cost. A-PHY offers data rates as high as 16Gb/s with a roadmap to 48Gb/s and beyond, coupled with an unprecedented ultra-low packet error rate (PER) of 10-19 and high noise immunity to electromagnetic interference.

“We’re happy to support Sony in bringing optimized MIPI A-PHY architecture to the automotive industry,” said Gideon Kedem, Valens SVP and head of automotive. “A-PHY is marching steadily towards widespread market adoption – we expect A-PHY to be the dominant connectivity solution on the road in cars around the world within a matter of years, and this evaluation marks yet another milestone for MIPI A-PHY to that end.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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