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CoaXPress® Technology

CoaXPress® technology is a standard for high-performance machine vision, industrial inspection and traffic monitoring systems. CoaXPress is the state-of-the-art method for connecting high-performance, high-resolution cameras to high-speed capture cards (i.e. frame grabbers).

CoaXPress operates over standard 75-ohm, 50-ohm and shielded differential pair cables. CoaXPress Version 1.1 currently supports up to 6.25 Gbit/s per cable from the camera to the frame grabber. For the trigger and control function up to 20 Mbit/s can be sent simultaneously in the opposite direction via the same cable. Power is also supplied over the cable from the frame grabber to the camera. Furthermore, the CoaXPress standard allows for a number of cables to be used in parallel; for example, four cables offering up to 25 Gbit/s image data streaming with CoaXPress 1.1.

CoaXPress is the only open and royalty free standard that allows video, camera control and triggering, and up to 13W of power to be delivered via a single, off-the-shelf 75Ω coaxial cable up to 100m with standard BNC, Micro BNC or DIN1.0/2.3 connectors.

CoaXPress is also supported by GenICam, an Application Programming Interface standardized by European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) and has been widely adopted by many industry partners. It accelerates and simplifies application development as well as upgrading components of visions systems.

To learn more about the CoaXPress standard, watch our brainshark video.

The History of CoaXPress
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Microchip (EqcoLogic), together with Adimec (The Netherlands) and Active Silicon (The United Kingdom) founded the CoaXPress consortium in 2008. Many other’s companies from Europe, North America and Japan joined shortly after. During the Vision 2009, the foremost machine vision trade show, the consortium was awarded the “Vision Award” for their efforts to further the cause of machine vision applications.

CoaXPress is hosted by the Japanese Industrial Imaging Association, (JIIA) and achieved global standardization of CoaXPress through the international G3 organization, formed by the Automated Imaging Association (AIA), European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) and JIIA.

CoaXPress 2.0: The Upcoming Standard

The formulation of the CoaXPress 2.0 standard is nearly complete and the final draft is targeted to be released at the end of 2018. There is tremendous industry support for CoaXPress 2.0, the successor of CoaXPress 1.1, which will extend the available data transfer rates up to 12.5 Gbit/s per connection. Many camera and frame grabber manufacturers are adopting to this latest version of the standard. The CoaXPress 1.1 data rates remain available such that CoaXPress 2.0 products are backwards compatible. This increase in data rate is a significant improvement compared to the 6.25 Gbit/s. The doubling in speed allows for higher frame rates or higher camera resolutions, but moreover it also allows for the use of fewer and more flexible cables, as well as less frame grabber cards. These possibilities result in a reduction of system costs, while providing a flexible system design.

With a clear and supported roadmap, system designers can be assured that if they integrate CoaXPress, they can upgrade the other components of their system as they need to for the next 10 years at least - without any need to investment of changing interfaces.

If you’re interested in designing for the CoaXPress 2.0 standard with CXP-12 devices, get in touch with our experts who can discuss design options and ideas and provide support throughout the development process. 

How to Use CoaXPress Technology

CoaXPress technology can be implemented across a variety of application areas. Learn the benefits of using CoaXPress technology for the applications listed below.

Machine Vision
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CoaXPress technology is often selected for machine vision, industrial inspection and traffic monitoring applications because of its high-speed download of uncompressed data, along with simultaneous low-speed uplink and power distributed over a single cable. The diagram below shows a typical use case.

CoaXPress Functional Diagram
Embedded Vision
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Embedded vision is an exciting technology in the vision industry. It refers to the practical use of computer vision in machines that understand their environment through visual means. Historically, these vision systems consisted of both large and expensive components: Camera with special sensors and X86 based personal computers. Hence the market size was limited. With the mobile phone market paving the way, high-performance embedded processors and image sensors became small and affordable. This change has opened up new applications which will shape the future of entire industries.

What are the advantages of these new embedded vision systems?

While embedded vision systems certainly cannot take the place of PC-based vision systems altogether, embedded systems do present advantages for many new applications. CoaXPress technology, with its high-speed data transfer, enables the development of these embedded vision systems. Systems leveraging CoaXPress technology have low power consumption, are cost-effective to build and maintain, and require less complex designs. Embedded vision systems can leverage the use of CoaXPress as an open industry, royalty-free standard.

New Applications and Designs with Embedded Vision

Embedded vision systems are used in applications like medical devices, autonomous vehicles among many other unique and cutting-edge applications.

ADAS and Autonomous Driving
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In Pursuit of Vision Zero and the Self Driving Car

The automotive industry is currently experiencing disruptive changes on multiple fronts: connected vehicle services, autonomous vehicles, electric mobility and shared mobility models. Although the industry has different opinions on exactly when the self-driving car will reach the mass market, it is unanimous that it will happen.

There is also a consensus that these systems, which eventually will allow the autonomous car to become reality, will dramatically increase safety in man driven vehicles, and thus will bring society a great deal closer to the goal of "vision zero", no traffic fatalities.

The Autonomous Driving System

Architectures with a centralized brain are superior in handling complex autonomous tasks. Autonomous Driving as well as Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) of the future serves these main complex tasks: sense, understand, act and visualize. The figure below shows a simplified autonomous driving system block diagram.

ADAS Block Diagram

Sensor Cocoon for Autonomous Driving

For the brain to fulfill the “understanding task“, a mix of more than 30 sensors will be required. Currently there are are three main groups of sensor systems: camera-, radar- and lidar-based systems. Although ultrasonic sensors are widespread today for parking assistance, they are of minor importance for autonomous driving and ADAS. The image below demonstrates a sensor cocoon for autonomous driving.

ADAS Block Diagram

Low-Cost and  Light-Weight Wire Harness

Besides the functional aspects of autonomous driving system, there several other aspects to be addressed. One very important aspect is the cost of the wire harness: It is the second highest cost component in car (behind chassis and engine),  comprising 50% of the cost of labor of the entire car. It is also the third heaviest component (again behind chassis and engine).

Research has shown that for the required data rates of multiple gigabit per second in such a harsh environment, a coaxial connectivity system is the best choice: Connector, cable and manufacturing costs of coaxial systems are lower than those based on shielded differential pairs. Coaxial systems also have lower weight and require less space.

In few applications, use of shielded differential pair may be beneficial and is also supported.

CoaXPress MIPI Bridge

Together with industry partners, Microchip provides a complete connectivity solution for future autonomous driving and ADAS applications, leveraging the benefits of CoaXPress for these applications.

The example below demonstrates CoaXPress  MIPI CSI-2 bridges for a camera sensor node as well as an ECU node.

ADAS Block Diagram

The solution transports aggregated sensor data from two 8-megapixel image sensors while also providing a simultaneous 40 Mbps uplink for control and power over a single automotive coaxial cable with four inline connectors.