Irish tech firm invents the future of connected cars

8 Jun 2017

Image: Karsten Neglia/Shutterstock

Taoglas’s new antenna system overcomes one of the biggest design challenges facing tomorrow’s connected cars.

Wexford and San Diego-based internet of things powerhouse Taoglas has invented a new kind of radio system for the next generation of connected cars.

The new system, branded Axiom, is a reference design for a low-profile, compact, multi-antenna system.

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It overcomes one of the biggest challenges facing the connected car: where to place the multiple antennas needed for maximum performance.

Will car makers give new radio system a clear reception?

As it stands, as many as 18 antennas are needed to power the next-generation connected car.

This includes multiple cellular antennas for network connectivity, including: Wi-Fi for hotspot connectivity; GNSS for navigation, emergency call systems and other location-based technologies; satellite radio; AM/FM antennas; radar antennas for object detection; Bluetooth antennas for smartphones and other devices; and dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) antennas for vehicle-to-vehicle/infrastructure applications.

“Getting that many antennas to work efficiently in a small space at a competitive cost is the number one challenge for the RF teams of automobile manufacturers,” said Dermot O’Shea, co-CEO of Taoglas.

“While every car manufacturer will require a slightly different solution, having a multi-antenna reference design to work from allows them to see what they can do in terms of placement and size, and how that impacts performance – all without waiting months for a custom solution to test.”

Taoglas’s Axiom system integrates nine antennas, including: four LTE antennas, two Wi-Fi antennas, an active GNSS element to support GPS and other systems, one SDARS antenna to support satellite radio, and a DSRC antenna for short range communication.

O’Shea said car manufacturers can take the prototype and test in the field.

“Using Taoglas’ Axiom reference design allows them to move more quickly to market with solutions that work. We can also work with tier one OEMs to integrate the elements of the Axiom antenna reference design quickly and efficiently directly onto the board of their telematic control units, achieving highest radiated power and sensitivity, while minimising project time, cost and size, all in one single package.”

The breakthrough follows Taoglas’s reveal at Mobile World Congress in February of a modular 5G antenna system, which allows operators to roll out networks like Lego blocks.

Last year, we reported how the Wexford-headquartered company invested $2m in a new internet of things design centre in San Diego.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years