FlexRay Consortium gets a big new member

General Motors has announced that it will be joining the core member companies of The FlexRay Consortium.

Formed in September 2000 to develop a standard for high-speed bus systems for distributed control applications in automobiles, existing FlexRay Consortium member companies include founders BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Motorola, Philips Semiconductors and Bosch.

The introduction of advanced control systems, such as steer-by-wire, brake-by-wire and central vehicle control which combine multiple sensors, actuators and electronic control units are placing greater demands on today’s communication protocols.

Standardisation of the FlexRay protocol will enable automobile manufacturers to lower development and production costs, as well as simplify the introduction of new electronic control systems into vehicles.

The FlexRay protocol is designed for use in chassis control, body and powertrain applications that require high levels of communication bandwidth and deterministic fault tolerant data transmission.

In addition, it will complement the major in-vehicle networking standards CAN, LIN and MOST by adding a high-speed protocol for the most demanding systems.

BMW, DaimlerChrysler and GM will jointly define the requirements for the FlexRay protocol. BMW, DaimlerChrysler and GM intend to use FlexRay in advanced application series-production within the next few years.

GM will play a key role by identifying cost-effective ways to implement the protocol across a wide range of vehicles based on its current portfolio. Bosch, who joined the FlexRay Consortium in August 2001, brings expertise in engine and braking system electronics along with experience in developing CAN and TTCAN.

Motorola will provide the data link layer, originally offering a stand-alone communication controller, with future FlexRay protocol integration planned for 16- and 32-bit microcontrollers in its extensive portfolio.

Philips Semiconductors is developing the physical layer and will offer transceiver test chips initially for evaluation, then later to the broad automotive market.

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