LONDON The FlexRay Consortium has released Version 2.1 of the automotive networking bus protocol and physical layer conformance test specifications, to allow auto makers to standardize system components.
The two conformance tests complete the FlexRay V2.1 specification set that was published by the 120 member consortium in 2005, and paves the way for semiconductor suppliers to finalize development of chip sets and solutions such as communication controllers and physical layer devices.
Conformance test houses are T‹V Nord for the protocol conformance and C&S Group and TZM for physical layer testing.
The FlexRay communications system is a time-deterministic protocol with a data rate of 10 Mbits/second for advanced control systems in vehicles.
Its development started in 2000 with four companies taking the lead: carmakers BMW and DaimlerChrysler, and chip makers Philips Semiconductors (now NXP) and Motorola (now Freescale Semiconductor). By 2003 Robert Bosch, GM and Volkswagen had joined, bringing the roster of core partners to seven.
The consortium aimed to establish a standard to compete with the deterministic time-triggered protocol being developed by TTTech Computertechnik AG (Vienna, Austria). It has now become the industry standard approach to drive-by-wire applications.
Claas Bracklo, FlexRay Consortium spokesperson and head of Hardware and Software Components at BMW, said: "With the conformance tests in place, carmakers around the world can begin using the FlexRay standard in their new vehicle platforms, bringing advanced safety and comfort applications to consumers for improved performance, while differentiating through these new applications."
The first implementation has already started in an advanced chassis control application on the new BMW X5, with microcontrollers supplied by Freescale.
Bracklo added market adoption is expected to accelerate very quickly. "Several members of the consortium have definitive timelines and plans for using FlexRay in their vehicle platforms."