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Cars get a multimedia POF network

10 Mar 2005

Renault demonstrates a high-speed optical fiber network for piping video, music and data around cars.

The French car maker Renault has wired up one of its Espace models with a high-speed plastic optical fiber (POF) network to demonstrate the future potential of in-car entertainment.

The proof-of-concept network pipes DVD movies, digital TV, video games or GPS navigation maps to LCD screens mounted in the dashboard and rear seats. The driver and passengers are able to select their own individual choice of content via a menu on the touch-sensitive screens.

The Espace also features Consumer Convenience Ports (CCPs) which allow the driver and passengers to plug their own electronic devices such as MP3/CD players, video game players or laptops into the car’s network. It is also equipped with a parking camera that feeds an image of the view behind the car to a screen on the dashboard.

The network supports the IEEE 1394 (Firewire) standard which is commonly used for transferring data between PCs and AV equipment such as Apple iPODs and digital camcorders. It is based on POF from Yazaki Optical Cables and 250Mbit/s red resonant-cavity LED transceivers from the Irish start-up Firecomms.

“Firecomms leads the development of devices to create next-generation in-vehicle networks using POF, a low-cost optical alternative to traditional copper cabling,” said Declan O’Mahoney, CEO of Firecomms. “Its high bandwidth and ease of use, coupled with its high tolerance to vibrations and external influences make POF ideal for in-vehicle embedded multimedia networks.”

A video of the car’s entertainment system can be downloaded here

Author
Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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