KDPOF, Trumpf jointly develop optical data technology for vehicles

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

According to experts, the growing flood of data in cars makes the development of optical data links indispensable. Spanish technology provider KDPOF, an expert in high-speed optical networking solutions, and German manufacturer Trumpf Photonic Components have therefore joined forces in what is described as a strategic collaboration. Together, the two intend to implement standards and solutions for optical data communication in vehicles.

To this end, Trumpf and KDPOF are pooling their knowledge of components and networks for optical data communication. “With our strategic partnership, we are going a step further and want to establish VCSEL and optical networks as an indispensable component in future cars,” explains Rubén Pérez-Aranda, CTO at KDPOF. The Spaniards hope to share in Trumpf’s manufacturing and design knowledge of VCSEL and photodiode components.

With the automotive industry’s push toward autonomous driving, processing large amounts of data in cars is also becoming more relevant. Consequently, optical interconnects are needed to manage these data flows and act like a nervous system between sensors and electronic brains. At the same time, strict electromagnetic interference requirements must be met. “It’s great to now enter into a strategic partnership with KDPOF after many years of collaboration and combine our expertise to shape the future of optical data communication in vehicle networks,” said Joseph Pankert, VP Product Management at Trumpf Photonic Components. “Our long-term studies have already proven that 980 nm VCSELs can operate at much higher temperatures and still provide excellent reliability. This is exactly what the automotive industry is demanding, and that’s why we support the move toward new, long-wavelength standards,” Pankert said.

Compared to data centers, automotive applications require a much wider operating temperature range, from -40°C to 125°C. In addition, interconnect cables must not exceed 40 meters in length. Therefore, VCSELs with a wavelength of 980 nm are considered the preferred wavelength in the new standards because they have superior robustness against wear and random failures. In addition to the performance characteristics, the 980 nm wavelength also matches existing OM3 fibers and exhibits little stray loss.


Trumpf and KDPOF are both participants in the IEEE P802.3cz task force. The current draft, approved by the IEEE 802.3 working group on multi-gigabit optical data transmission in automobiles, includes optical specifications that already use reliable light sources based on proven longer wavelengths. Driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicle operation will ultimately benefit from devices that consist of standardized components. “The automotive industry is a very demanding industry,” comments Pérez-Aranda. “The IEEE 802.3 standard therefore focuses on high-reliability conditions that offer a lifetime of 15 years or more.”

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