Improve Automotive Radio Design With New Solution


Maxim helps automotive designers to simplify design of head unit of a vehicle and dramatically reduce the number of cables.

“Our remote tuner architecture simplifies head unit design while improving radio signal quality and reducing cost, weight and power consumption.”, said Maxim.

Maxim explained that traditional radio architecture brings many challenges to vehicle designers. The vehicle’s complex head unit must accommodate multiple tuners, manage heat dissipation, and receive multiple cables from the antennas. In addition, the received analog signals pick up noise as they travel from the antenna to the head unit of the vehicle. Finally, baseband processing uses single purpose hardware, requiring separate designs to support multiple worldwide radio standards.

New remote tuner solution simplifies head unit design while improving radio signal quality and reducing cost, weight and power consumption. Tuners are not located in the head unit, but rather are located close to the antennas. Received signals are serialized and sent to the head unit over a single coax cable which also provides I2C communication and power. This results in a smaller, cooler head unit and a dramatic reduction in the number of cables. The digital signals are immune to ambient noise which improves signal quality and the reception of weak signals.


Another advantage of the remote unit architecture is scalability — it’s very easy to add more tuners for background scan and phase diversity without changing the design of the head unit.

In addition, Maxim says that its hybrid radio receiver IC, MAX2175, allows the baseband processing to be done in a system-on-chip (SOC) using software. This software defined radio (SDR) approach enables flexible implementations by eliminating the need for a dedicated baseband processor. By simply changing the software, any worldwide radio standard can be supported using the chip.

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“The comprehensive set of Core Development Kits (CDKs) for software-defined digital radio solutions from Fraunhofer IIS are specifically designed for best-in-class performance,” said Martin Speitel, head of the Infotainment group at Fraunhofer IIS. “Together with Maxim, we developed a complete software defined radio solution which demonstrates a clearer radio signal for automotive applications.”

“The software-defined approach is the future of in-vehicle electronics, and it is already on its way,” said Luca De Ambroggi, principal analyst for automotive semiconductors at IHS Markit Technology. “I see electronic systems in cars becoming like powerful personal computers. And, like with a PC, if you want to add new functionalities you download and install a software program. Your hardware doesn’t need to change.¹”

Evaluation kits MAX2175R1EVKIT# and MAX2175J1EVKIT# are available. Pricing for MAX2175 and EV kits are available upon request.

For more information about the remote tuner solution, visit:



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