What Is a GMSL Camera?

With the rise of applications requiring high bandwidth, long-distance support, strong performance, and precise and reliable visual data, such as autonomous driving, object detection, and inventory management, GMSL cameras have become indispensable tools, providing high-resolution imaging, real-time communication, and enhanced security features. As industries continue to push the boundaries of technological innovation, GMSL cameras stand at the forefront, enabling seamless integration and superior performance in diverse environments. 


GMSL Camera

What Is A GMSL Camera? 

GMSL, short for Gigabit Multimedia Serial Link, is a cutting-edge communication protocol that revolutionizes data transmission in various industries.  

Unlike traditional methods, GMSL facilitates multi-streaming over a single cable, offering unparalleled efficiency and simplicity. With the capability to transmit data up to 15 meters using a coaxial cable, GMSL ensures seamless connectivity over extended distances. With its high-performance protocol paired with a secure FAKRA connector, is particularly well-suited for autonomous driving, warehouse and robotic applications.   

In training Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) applications, GMSL cameras use a high-speed serial interface for transmitting video data between the camera and other components within the vehicle, such as processing units or display screens. This interface allows for high-resolution video transmission over relatively long distances while maintaining high reliability and robustness, even in harsh automotive environments. These cameras are often favored in automotive applications due to their ability to handle high-definition video data with low latency and their compatibility with the automotive industry's stringent requirements for reliability and performance. They play a crucial role in providing visual information to onboard systems for tasks such as object detection, lane keeping, and obstacle avoidance. 


Why is GMSL Camera Becoming Popular? 

GMSL cameras can adapt to the growing demand, and it is becoming popular day by day. Here are some several reasons why:  

  • High Resolution and Image Quality: GMSL cameras capture crisp, high-definition video, crucial for accurate perception in ADAS and autonomous driving applications. 
  • Low Latency for Real-time Data Processing: With minimal delay in video transmission, GMSL cameras facilitate timely decision-making by onboard systems, enhancing vehicle safety and responsiveness. 
  • Robustness and Reliability: Engineered to withstand harsh automotive conditions, GMSL cameras demonstrate resilience against temperature variations, vibrations, and electromagnetic interference, ensuring uninterrupted operation. 
  • Long-Distance Transmission: GMSL cameras support long-distance video transmission over a single cable, simplifying installation and offering flexibility in camera placement. 
  • Scalability: The modular design of GMSL camera systems allows for seamless integration of multiple cameras, enabling comprehensive coverage around the vehicle for enhanced situational awareness. 
  • Compatibility: GMSL cameras are designed to meet automotive industry standards and requirements, ensuring compatibility with existing vehicle architectures and systems. 
  • Safety and Efficiency: By providing accurate and timely visual information to onboard systems, GMSL cameras contribute to improving safety and efficiency in automotive applications, such as collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, and parking assistance. 


GMSL Camera (Gigabit Multimedia Serial Link) Generations 

There are three generations of GMSL technology commonly referred to: GMSL1, GMSL2 and GMSL3: 

GMSL1: support high-speed serial communication for video and data transmission in automotive applications. It typically operates at data rates up to 3.125 Gb/s per lane and is widely used in automotive camera systems for applications such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. 

GMSL2: offer improvements over GMSL1 in terms of higher data rates, increased reliability, and additional features. It supports data rates up to 6 Gb/s per lane and includes features such as bidirectional communication and power-over-coaxial (PoC) capability. GMSL2 is designed to meet the evolving requirements of automotive vision systems for higher resolution, increased bandwidth, and enhanced reliability. 

GMSL3: the newest version of the GMSL connection. In general, GMSL3 brings a few upgrades compared to GMSL2 in terms of bandwidth, power consumption, security, and capable length. It can transfer data at rates of up to 12 Gb/s. These enhancements make GMSL3 a superior option for demanding automotive tasks and other uses needing fast, sharp video transmission with added security. 


What Types of CPUs is GMSL Camera Compatible with? 

GMSL cameras are designed to be compatible with a wide range of CPUs and computing platforms used in automotive applications. The compatibility of GMSL cameras with CPUs depends on the availability of appropriate drivers, software support, and integration efforts within the specific automotive system. Manufacturers and developers typically ensure compatibility through rigorous testing and validation processes. 

Here are some examples of CPUs and computing platforms that GMSL cameras may be compatible with: 

  • Automotive SoCs (System-on-Chip)  
  • ARM-based CPUs  
  • x86-based CPUs 
  • Custom or specialized processors  


GMSL Camera vs GigE Camera vs USB Camera vs MIPI Camera 


Advantages and Disadvantages of GMSL vs. GigE vs. USB vs. MIPI Cameras 

Camera Type  Advantages  Disadvantages 
GMSL  High-speed transmission, longer cable length, low latency, high interference resistance  Higher cost, complexity in setup, limited compatibility with non-automotive applications 
GigE Long cable length, high data rates, integration into existing networks, supports multiple cameras  Higher cost and complexity, requires separate power supply (unless using PoE), network-dependent performance 
USB 3.0 Wide usage and compatibility, power delivery through USB, cost-effective, variable data speeds  Limited cable length, potential limitations in data transfer and power for high-end cameras
MIPI Low power consumption, compact and lightweight  Short cable length, complex integration outside mobile environments, limited non-mobile compatibility


Detailed Comparision of GMSL vs. GigE vs. USB vs. MIPI Cameras

Criterial  GMSL  GigE   USB 3.0  MIPI CSI-2
Data Transfer Speed  Up to 12 Gb/s  1 Gb/s 5 Gb/s  1 to 5 Gb/s
Cable Length  3 to 15m 60-100m  Extended to 18m  Standard is 30cm
Connectivity  Automotive and industrial focused Used in industrial and IT environment Universal, supports many devices Primarily mobile and embedded devices
Power Delivery Power over coaxial (limited) Requires separate power  Power delivery (up to 100W for USB-C)  Low power usage 
Latency  Low   Moderate to high  Low to moderate depending on version  Very Low 


What Are the Use Cases of GMSL Cameras in Industrial? 

Automated Farming, Automated Guided Vehicles and Autonomous Mobile Robots,Security and Surveillance  Quality Inspection,

Automated Farming 

GMSL cameras are employed in automated farming systems for tasks such as crop monitoring, precision agriculture, and autonomous machinery guidance. They enable farmers to monitor crop health, detect pests and diseases, and optimize irrigation and fertilization practices, leading to increased productivity and yield. 

Automated Guided Vehicles and Autonomous Mobile Robots 

GMSL cameras are integral components of AMRs for navigation, obstacle detection, and mapping in industrial environments. They provide real-time visual data, enabling AMRs to navigate safely, avoid obstacles, and optimize their paths for efficient material handling and logistics operations. 

Quality Inspection 

In manufacturing environments, GMSL cameras are used for quality inspection and defect detection. They capture detailed images of products or components, allowing for precise analysis and identification of defects or irregularities in the production process. 

Security and Surveillance 

GMSL cameras are deployed for security and surveillance purposes in industrial facilities. They provide high-definition video surveillance, enabling real-time monitoring of premises, perimeter surveillance, and intrusion detection. 


Related Product

The JCO-6000-ORN is a High-Performance AI Edge Computer Series with NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin module delivering up to 275 TOPS of AI performance. Equipped with 8x GMSL cameras, the JCO-6000-ORN can be widely adopted for situational awareness, object detection, and computer vision-based applications.