Mar 04 2010

Increasing Automotive Complexity Requires Careful Planning and Execution

vehicle bus standardsLike so much of today’s technology, in-car technology has evolved at a rapid rate. Modern in-car networks have developed to support not only basic vehicle functions, but also entertainment and navigation systems.

Controller Area Network (CAN). The primary in-car network serial bus in today’s cars is the Controller Area Network (CAN). Originally developed in 1985 by Bosch, CAN remains the international standard for in-car networking. CAN utilizes twisted wire pairs to reduce wiring complexity, weight and cost while providing a reliable solution in high-interference environments. CAN also is able to operate at data speeds up to 1 Mbps, with High-speed CAN used for engine management and brake control and Low-speed CAN used for window and seat operations.

Location Interconnect Network (LIN). When CAN’s versatility and bandwidth is not needed, LIN offers a cost-effective, low-speed serial bus within the CAN network. Requiring only a single wire for physical implementation, LINs allow in-car connection and communication between intelligent sensors and actuators.

FlexRay. This newest vehicle bus standard was designed to be faster and more reliable than CAN. Developed by BMW and DaimlerChrysler for use in drive-by-wire systems, FlexRay offers deterministic and fault-tolerant data transmission with a bandwidth of up to 10 Mbps.

Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST). MOST is the in-car bus standard for interconnecting multimedia components. MOST, which addresses the increasing popularity of in-car entertainment, navigation and telecom systems, has a maximum data rate of 50 Mbps; future generations are expected to reach 150 Mbps.

USB. Finally, USB technology, which has become ubiquitous on PCs and devices, has also made its way into the automobile. Devices are now being connected in vehicles via USB, allowing for “plug-n-play” capability among a wide variety of media players and devices that consumers expect to utilize in their automobiles.

Modern automobile network architecture has become increasingly complex, increasing the need for reliable vehicle bus standards and performance testing. The number of buses and protocols will increase as our entertainment and system needs grow, and the speed of innovation will continue to require updated and improved standards. The Allion Connect Certification Program ensures reliable connectivity between consumer electronics devices and automobiles. To learn more about how Allion can test and validate your automotive solutions, contact Allion Test Labs.