Next Generation Car Network- Flex-Ray

 The Flex-Ray networking standard for motor vehicles provides a foundation that will shape the control structures of automotive electronic for many years to come. Flex-Ray serves as the next step beyond CAN and LIN, enabling the reliable management of many more safety and comfort features. Flex-Ray suits X-by-Wire applications.

 Flex-Ray focuses on a set of core needs for today’s automotive industry, includes higher data rates than previous standards, flexible data communications, versatile topology options, and fault-tolerant operation. Flex-Ray thus delivers the speed and reliability required for next-generation in-car control systems.The CAN network has reached its performance limits with a maximum speed of 1 Mbps. With a maximum data rate of 10 Mbps available on two channels, giving a gross data rate of up to 20Mbit/sec, Flex-Ray potentially offers 20 times higher net bandwidth than CAN when used in the same application.

 Flex-Ray also offers many reliability features not available in CAN. Specifically, a redundant communication capability enables fully duplicated network configurations and schedule monitoring by hardware. Flex-Ray also offers flexible configurations, with support for topologies such as bus, star, and hybrid types. Designers can configure distributed systems by combining two or more of these topologies. Moreover, Flex-Ray allows both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous data transfer to meet the demand for various systems in vehicles. For example, a distributed control system usually requires synchronous data transmission.

 To meet diverse communication requirements, Flex-Ray also provides both static and dynamic communication segments within each communication cycle. The static communication segment provides bounded latency, and the dynamic segment helps meet varying bandwidth requirements that can emerge at system run time. The fixed-length static segment of a Flex-Ray frame transfers messages with a fixed-time-trigger method, and the dynamic segment transfers messages with a flexible, time-trigger method. In addition to operating as a single-channel system like CAN and LIN, Flex-Ray can operate as a dual-channel system. The dual-channel option makes data available via a redundant network a vital capability for a high-reliability system. Flex-Ray’s characteristics suit real-time control functions. Flex-Ray offers the highest reliability among the protocols. Further compares networking standards by node cost and data rate.

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