Auto Electronics

FlexRay debuts in BMW X5

FlexRay protocol has entered its production phase with devices from NXP(formerly Philips Semiconductors) and Freescale Semiconductor in BMW's newest X5 sport activity vehicle.

The firms’ FlexRay devices are used in an AdaptiveDrive option on the X5 but the companies founding members of the FlexRay Consortium, expect to extend the high-speed (10 Mb/s), deterministic protocol to powertrain and driver assistance applications in 2008 and beyond.

The closed-loop FlexRay system in the X5 is said to include an NXP transceiver (TJA1080) and NXP fail-safe system basis chips as well as a 32-bit Freescale MPC563 controller, four 16-bit MC9S12DG128 microcontrollers, and four MFR4200 FlexRay communications controllers.

In the X5, FlexRay technology reportedly interconnects five electronic control units in the AdaptDrive suspension control system that governs swivel motors on the anti-roll bars and electronic damper control valves. Drivers can press a button to select a comfortable ride on bumpy roads or a sporting ride on smoother surfaces. FlexRay bus commands control the ways that swivel motors adjust suspension anti-roll bar response and also adjust dampers to provide a soft or a stiff response.

Toni Versluijs, NXP business development manager for in-vehicle network controllers and FlexRay, said that FlexRay enables AdaptiveDrive to process and transmit large amounts of data on changing driving and road conditions at high speeds for dynamic control of the anti-roll bars and dampers.

“Vehicle safety is significantly enhanced with the TJA1080, as active safety systems are able to leverage the high-speed interaction between electronic control units in a FlexRay network,” Versluijs said.

He added that the TJA1080 can be configured as a node transceiver or as an active star transceiver with only one device. “The result is faster and simpler development of FlexRay networks with excellent EMC performance, as well as extensive error diagnosis and protection mechanisms.

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