First FlexRay vehicle gears up

Munich, Germany and Austin, Texas: Freescale Semiconductor and the BMW Group introduced the industry’s first implementation of FlexRay technology in BMW’s new X5 sports activity vehicle (SAV).

The FlexRay network communications system is designed to meet the demand for high-datarate networks driven by the increased high-speed electronic content in automobiles. BMW’s adoption of FlexRay technology is expected to give drivers access to unprecedented handling and stability control capabilities. That’s because FlexRay’s capacity makes it possible to transfer data rapidly between networked control devices and systems in an automobile.

By pressing a button, BMW X5 drivers can opt for a sporting or comfortable ride on-the-fly. This technology is the cornerstone of BMW’s AdaptiveDrive feature, which gives drivers a combination of Active Roll Stabilisation and Electronic Damping Control. FlexRay was implemented to provide fast, reliable coordination of all AdaptiveDrive functions.

A group of development companies, including BMW and Freescale, has enhanced FlexRay technology to production standards. So far, Freescale is the only semiconductor supplier with FlexRay microcontrollers in a production-ready automobile. Freescale’s 32bit FlexRay MCUs, announced this year, help enable 10Mbit/s bandwidth for communication between systems for various automotive applications.

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