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National Instruments (NI) has introduced NI-XNET controller area network (CAN) and Flexray embedded network interfaces.

The interfaces are intended to help engineers working in industries such as automotive and aerospace to quickly prototype, simulate and test next-generation Flexray and CAN devices and networks.

The NI-XNET embedded networks platform consists of 14 high-performance PCI- and PXI-based interfaces for Flexray and CAN and a universal API for rapid application development.

The platform is designed for demanding applications, such as hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and end-of-line test, which require hundreds of signals and sub-millisecond latency.

Found predominantly in the automotive industry, CAN and Flexray buses are used to facilitate communication between electronic control units (ECUs) within a system such as a vehicle.

While CAN has been used for more than 20 years, the need for additional bandwidth, synchronisation and redundancy led to the recent introduction of the next-generation Flexray bus, which is 20 times faster than CAN.

Automotive engineers are increasingly using a combination of the two buses.

However, developing prototype, test and measurement systems that can communicate with both networks is challenging, costly and complex, according to the company.

The NI-XNET platform delivers a single API for both CAN and Flexray networks and devices so that the same software can run on either network without rewriting code.

To simplify application development, the API and hardware translate signals from scaled units to raw network data with native signal database integration.

The NI-XNET software includes a signal database editor that makes it possible to import and edit database files in industry-standard formats such as FIBEX and DBC, giving engineers the ability to manage any design changes that affect the network data.

The software also provides a bus monitor utility, which makes it possible for engineers to quickly view, log and diagnose bus data for simplified troubleshooting.

The NI-XNET API integrates with the NI Labview software, making it simple for engineers to access and make changes to system-level data or signals in a graphical programming environment.

When used with the Labview Real-Time Module, NI-XNET interfaces deliver true determinism and reliability, which is essential for applications such as HIL and production test.

Offered in PCI and PXI formats, the NI-XNET high-performance hardware includes two Flexray interfaces and 12 CAN interfaces.

Available in one- or two-port versions, these interfaces help engineers increase the speed of their simulations by providing a powerful onboard processor dedicated to each port to offload intensive tasks such as cyclic CAN message broadcasting.

They also provide NI device-driven DMA technology for the faster streaming of data to the host application as well as reduced jitter and central-processing-unit (CPU) loads.

In addition to support for Labview, NI-XNET devices feature APIs for NI Labwindows/CVI, C and C++.

For complex system testing, simulation and prototyping, the interfaces can be synchronised with external instrumentation such as NI data acquisition and vision products and NI PXI modular instruments, including digitisers and oscilloscopes.

National Instruments

National Instruments transforms the way engineers and scientists around the world design, prototype and deploy systems for test, control and embedded design applications. Using NI LabVIEW graphical programming software and modular hardware, customers at more than 30,000 companies annually simplify development, increase productivity and dramatically reduce time to market. From testing next-generation gaming systems to creating breakthrough medical devices to controlling autonomous vehicles, NI customers continuously develop innovative technologies that impact millions of people’s lives.

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