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Networks and Communications for the Connected Car


This module is only available to students on the MSc in Smart, Connected, and Autonomous Vehicles.




This module aims to provide the students with an up to date, comprehensive knowledge of the main wired and wireless communications technologies that are used, or will be used, in current and future production consumer vehicles. Through providing a knowledge base of core telecommunications theories, the student is taken forward into the application domain, such that the various wired and wireless technologies in the context of the automotive space is understood. Key concepts of theory Vs application are discussed based upon the inference and understanding of the performance of the technologies both at the component and system level. Topics are introduced from both the theoretical and practical viewpoints to encourage independent critical evaluation of the subject matter.


Upon successful completion participants will be able to:

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of how different communications systems technologies may be integrated together within a connected and/or autonomous system.
  • Acquire the knowledge to infer how the relative technologies interact with both the user, the vehicles control and the wider network.
  • Confidently be able to critically evaluate the suitability of each possible technology for a given need.
  • Expertly evaluate a complete system within the wider automotive eco-system.
  • Gain an understanding of the current state-of-the-art with a view to what is beyond-the-state-of-the-art.
  • Apply relevant practical communications techniques appropriately to understand and make judgements the relevant issues related to component of system performance.
  • Demonstrate an ability to design communication systems to support connectivity aspect of connected and/or autonomous systems.


Introduction: Taxonomy of modern communications. OSI Model, Signalling Vs Communications. Context of Networks and Communications.

Telecommunications Theory:

  • Pulse Modulation: Analog to digital conversion. Sampling, aliasing, and Nyquist, Equalisation. Digitisation, quantisation and errors. Encoding and decoding.
  • Baseband and Passband Modulation: baseband and applications of baseband transmission. ISI. Pulse shaping Baseband to pass-band. Carrier waves. Basic modulation types. Error rates and bandwidth relationships.
  • Coding Theory: Information theory, BER, Binary (non-)symmetric channel, basic coding schemes, Entropy, AWGN. Error detection and correction, basic ECC Shannon limits and/or capacity.
  • Multiple Access: Single channel communications. Multiple access motivation and techniques. Multiple access in practice.

Wireless Technologies

  • Link Budget and Channel: Spectrum Reuse. Noise, origins and types. Free space losses. Carrier to Noise Ratio. Propagation models.
  • Cellular Performance and Architectures: Cellular Network Trends, Data Growth. Base stations and cell statistics. Frequency reuse. Deployment constraints. Spectrum allocations. GSM evolutions. The vehicular application and consideration of the deployment constraint. Automotive variants of architectures.
  • 4G LTE: Principles and motivation. Key characteristics. OFDM/multicarrier transmitter and receiver. 4G spectrum organisation, carrier aggregation, resource management and channel mapping.
  • GNSS: Core principles and motivation in the context of automotive. Signal types. Performance. Interfaces. Standards and regulations. Automotive integration.
  • WiFi and the Unlicensed Spectrum: The unlicensed spectrum and considerations. WiFi standards, MAC and PHY. Architectures. LTE-U, regulations. Move to higher frequencies.
  • 5G: Key Technologies and Roadmap for 5G. Background and Demands. 5G Specifications. Absorptions and specific channel limitations. Convergence including IoT. Backward (and forward) compatibility.
  • Radio Frequency (RF) In, and Around, the Vehicle: Real world issues on antenna placement. Real world issues with materials. Vehicular EMI and mitigation techniques. Compatibility and conformity. Use of other EM bands as alternatives e.g. THz or Optical.

Wired Technologies

  • Flexray: Context and principle applications. Physical layer. Protocol - Message frames, headers addressing etc. Topology. Usage and compliance. API. Determinism.
  • CAN: Context and principle applications. Physical layer (low speed and high speed), and architecture. Protocol - Message frames, headers, addressing, message IDs. Usage and standards compliance.
  • LIN: Context and principle applications. Physical layer. Protocol - Message frames, headers, addressing etc. Topology. Usage and compliance. API.
  • Consumer Technologies and MOST: Principles and types (MOST25, 50,150 etc.). PON physical Layer Vs electrical physical layer. Protocol. Architectures and applications. Performance and QoS. Industry use. Compliance. Consumer technologies and their interface with automotive networks. Consumer interfaces include USB, Firewire, Bluetooth, WiFi etc.
  • Ethernet: General Ethernet principles. Networking model, and comparison between other technologies. Terminology. Standards. Topologies e.g. bridges, nodes, stations etc. Common physical layers and IEEE 802.3.

Cyber Security

Cyber Security in an Automotive Context: Wireless, Wired and Network. Logical and physical cyber security issues. Contextualising issues between ‘provider’, OEM and ‘user’. Industry best practice.


PMA: 70% of final mark

IMA: 30% of final mark


40 hours contact time (to include lectures, tutorials, practicals/workshops, presentations, case studies and syndicate exercises)