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The New Intel® RealSense™ Depth Camera D457 Introduces GMSL and FAKRA to Robotics

The Intel RealSense Depth Camera D457 is a new addition to the Intel RealSense family of depth-sensing cameras. Specifically designed for use in robotics and other autonomous systems, this new camera is equipped with advanced depth-sensing technology crucial for tasks such as navigation, grasping, and manipulation.

The Intel RealSense Depth Camera D457 features 

  • The GMSL (Gigabit Multimedia Serial Link) protocol 
  • FAKRA (Fakra Automotive Kompakt Radial) connectors, and 
  • IP 65 ingress protection (dust-tight and protected against powerful water jets).
This is a photo of the Intel RealSense D457 camera that is about 1x3

So what are GMSL and FAKRA?

GMSL is a high-speed serial data bus standard developed by Maxim Integrated in the early 2000s. GMSL technology was designed to meet the growing demand for high-bandwidth data transfer in automotive and other industrial applications.

The first GMSL devices were primarily used in relatively low-bandwidth automotive subsystems such as rearview cameras and infotainment systems. These early devices were capable of data transfer rates of up to 3 Gbps.

The GMSL standard evolved to keep up with the growing demand for high-speed data transfer in a wider range of applications. GMSL2 increased the data transfer rate to 6 Gbps, and enabled advanced features such as Power Over Cable. GMSL2 enables the large number of cameras, radars, LiDAR’s, and other sensors necessary to implement ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) functionality in modern automobiles and autonomous vehicles.

FAKRA is a type of connector commonly used in automotive, industrial, and other mission-critical applications where high-bandwidth data and power need to be transmitted between devices. FAKRA connectors are small, durable, and designed to minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI) which can cause problems with sensor data and control signals. FAKRA is essentially an easy to unplug SMB (SubMiniature version B) connector. Imagine a SMB without threads, and a quick-lock ramp-style connector.

FAKRA connectors are typically used in applications where space is limited, such as in cars, drones, and other mobile devices. Designed to be compact and easy to install, they are resistant to vibration and extreme temperatures.

Why are GMSL/FAKRA important to the future of robotics?

For high-speed data transfer in a wide range of applications, GMSL/FAKRA offer reliable and efficient solutions. They have strong support from industries, particularly in the field of autonomous vehicles and robotics.

The GMSL high-performance protocol supports multiple streams over a single cable coax cable up to 15m in length. When you compare this to the traditional approach of USB and Ethernet, the combination of GMSL and FAKRA provides significantly higher performance and more versatile design architecture with less noise and interference problems. USB interfaces in robotics applications can be troublesome for quick enumeration of new devices that need to be frequently plugged / unplugged. Vibration or a momentary disconnection can often trigger re-enumeration issues and reliability problems. GMSL/FAKRA, on the other hand, is designed for automotive environments and doesn’t suffer from these enumeration deficits.

OLogic

As a longtime Intel RealSense partner, OLogic has been an early adopter of Intel RealSense depth cameras and technologies. OLogic readily sees the value and benefit that Intel RealSense products have brought to the robotics community.

Improving performance and reliability of OLogic robots increases the value-add we provide to customers. By taking advantage of Intel RealSense technology, OLogic can develop even more advanced robots. If you want to learn more about how the new Intel RealSense Depth Camera D457 and GMSL/FAKRA can help improve your design, please contact us.

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Intel technologies may require enabled hardware, software or service activation.

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