Wearable Tech World Feature Article
July 29, 2015

Maxim Integrated & NVIDIA Get Together for a Better Driving Experience

Driving is one of those things that's often regarded as a necessity; we drive to work, to accomplish our various errands, and the like. But it's not often regarded as something we do for fun or to relax, and that's kind of a shame. Maxim Integrated Products and NVIDIA, meanwhile, are getting together to make the drive time a nicer, more worthwhile time with some powerful new systems.

Maxim is already well-known in the market for its line of analog integration systems, while NVIDIA has been reportedly looking for a means to enable analog blocks on several automotive systems, ranging from driver assistance systems to in-car infotainment systems. With Maxim's contributions, NVIDIA can now augment both its DRIVE CX, or cockpit, and DRIVE PX, or piloted driving, systems.

Maxim's systems are actually fairly substantial in number, including options for USB charging directly in the automobile itself, new tuners that can help drive software-defined radios known as RF-to-Bits tuners, and solutions geared toward audio options, backlighting and timekeeping, and a host of others besides to help free up space. Maxim can also offer up power management tools suitable for the automotive market to help drive NVIDIA's visual computing modules (VCMs), allowing for the easy addition of NVIDIA hardware into current vehicles using NVIDIA's Tegra processors for a base.

That's not all Maxim has to add, of course; Maxim also offers what's known as a gigabit multimedia serial link (GMSL) solution for the high-speed transfer of large amounts of data, making it a natural fit to work between cameras and NVIDIA's system-on-a-chip (SoC) operations. This is actually bolstered by another Maxim product, the MAX9286 deserializer, which offers four channels at 1.5 Gbps. This makes it capable of synchronizing video streams from four separate camera inputs at once, a development said to be an industry first.

Maxim's managing director of automotive sales and marketing, Kent Robinett, offered up some comment around the new coalition, saying “Maxim develops the high-performance analog ecosystem required to drive NVIDIA's supercomputer platform. Our collaboration enables new possibilities for infotainment and ADAS markets within automotive, and is a platform for ongoing developments in automotive-grade USB, power management, high-speed video transfer, precision MEMS, and wireless radio tuner RF-to-Bits solutions.”

What's great about this partnership is that it manages to cover two waterfronts simultaneously. It helps get us to the self-driving car, and also sets up the infrastructure to give us something to do while that car is doing the driving. With new options in audio, new options in USB charging, and the like, we get the options afforded to us by not only the car's own systems but by the various USB-charging items we take with us, like smartphones, tablets, and readers. But by like token, the car can't drive itself without access to camera input from outside of the car, so as to better figure out where other cars are and the like. That's a development also covered here.

We might still be a while away from the self-driving car, but it's developments like these that are going to help take us the rest of the way. One day we may be able to spend our entire commute—or our entire vacation drive—enjoying a book, a video, or music, and tools like this will make the difference.




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino




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