This paper discusses the hardware implementation of high speed and fault-tolerant communication systems for in-vehicle networking. Emerging safety-critical automotive control systems, such as X-by-wire and active safety, need complex distributed algorithms. Large bunches of data have to be exchanged in real-time and with high dependability between electronic control units, sensors and actuators. According to this perspective, the FlexRay protocol, which features data-rates up to 10 Mb/s, time and event triggered transmissions, as well as scalable fault-tolerance support, was developed and it is now expected to become the future standard for in-vehicle communication. However, collision avoidance and driver assistance applications based on vision/radar systems, poses requirements on the communication systems that can hardly be covered by current and expected automotive standards. A candidate that will play a significant role in the development of safety systems which need data-rates up to hundreds of Mb/s as well as fault-tolerance seems to be the new SpaceWire protocol, whose effectiveness has already been proved in avionic and aerospace. This paper presents the design of the major hardware building blocks of the FlexRay and SpaceWire protocols.
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