How Integrated Ethernet Technology Can Increase Functionality in Automotive Applications

By Contributed Article | September 07, 2021

Ethernet is an ideal technology for automotive applications because of its extensive bandwidth, ability to handle high-speed data, security advantages, high reliability, and efficiency.

By Chief Enterprises

The connected car is a concept that has propelled the automotive industry into the future. The technologies that enable today’s automobiles to communicate with systems in other vehicles and infrastructure outside of the vehicle are transforming the transportation industry and paving the way for autonomous driving. But for vehicle systems to share data with outside systems, they first need to be able to effectively communicate across the diverse systems within the vehicle to collect, analyze, and transmit that information.

So, what allows a car’s components to communicate with each other?

One of the ways devices speak to each other is through Ethernet technology. Ethernet is a network language or protocol that allows different devices to communicate with each other. Historically, Ethernet has been used to connect devices such as computers and printers inside consumer’s homes, but the technology has evolved and is now finding a place inside vehicles. Some examples of Ethernet applications inside the vehicle are:

  • Measurement and calibration
  • Diagnostics
  • In-vehicle infotainment
  • Radar sensors

Bosch MicroFlex Connector

Ethernet is an ideal technology for these applications because of its extensive bandwidth,  ability to handle high-speed data, security advantages, high reliability, and efficiency. However, all these advantages can come with high costs.

This is where German engineering has come in. Bosch is revolutionizing the way Ethernet is used in automotive applications with its MicroFlex Connector. The MicroFlex has Ethernet capability integrated directly into the interface, unlike other options that require separate Ethernet ports. This saves highly sought-after real estate in the cab and can drive down costs as it offers up to 12 individual ports along with signal and power pins.

Bosch MicroFlex ethernet connector

The Bosch MicroFlex Connector, available in North America through Chief Enterprises, can support transmission speeds of up to 100 Mb/s and is scalable to be able to achieve 1 Mb/s and 10 Mb/s for applications such as managing the high transmission speeds needed for autonomous driving.

The MicroFlex utilizes 0.5 mm pin size, which reduces the pin and plating material by nearly half, and has a very compact interface design that saves space and material. It also connects with sealed and unsealed connectors, giving OEMs cost-effective alternatives.

Integrating Ethernet capability into the Microflex Connector instead of separate ports increases functionality and reduces costs. Compact pin size reduces pin and plating material and the compact interface design allows for a smaller controller that requires less packaging. The same interface can be used for sealed and unsealed connectors.

The Bosch MicroFlex is an open interface that allows for many different pin configurations. Currently, the Bosch connector group has both sealed and unsealed connectors. These are used in various automotive applications, including security, vehicle, airbag, and driver assistance controls.

Visit Chief Enterprises, the sole North American distributor of Bosch Connector parts.


Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletters, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and check out our eBook archives for more applicable, expert-informed connectivity content.

Like this article? Check out our other Ethernet and Connected Vehicles  and our Automotive Market Page, and our 2021 and 2020 Article Archives.

Get the Latest News