BMW to launch new data network in next X5.


Use of faster in-car data network could help revive by-wire technologies

Automakers are close to adopting a faster in-car data network standard that could revive brake-by-wire and other by-wire technologies.

Analysts say BMW AG will introduce the FlexRay high-bandwidth data network on a limited basis in the next-generation X5 SUV in fall 2006.

BMW will use the system only to control dampers on the X5 suspension, says analyst Chris Webber, vice president of Strategy Analytics' automotive practice in the United Kingdom.

"It's the first production application of FlexRay in the world," he said.

The first automaker will use the full FlexRay network on a production vehicle by late 2008, predicts Stephan Lehmann, strategic marketing manager for Freescale Semiconductor's global automotive business.

Freescale is a founding member of the FlexRay Consortium. It includes core members Volkswagen AG, BMW, DaimlerChrysler AG, General Motors and suppliers Robert Bosch GmbH and Royal Philips Electronics. The consortium was created in 2000 to develop a more robust in-vehicle network as an industry standard.

Today's in-vehicle networks cannot carry the increasing data load fast enough and reliably enough to operate advanced systems such as brake-by-wire.

At least one manufacturer has delayed its brake-by-wire program because the car's data network was not fast enough or reliable enough.

By-wire systems remove mechanical links between the driver and critical systems. So their control networks require both freedom from random false signals and enough speed to handle multiple confirming signals.

At 20 megabytes a second, FlexRay network can transmit data 20 times faster than a current controller area network system.

The group developed FlexRay for advanced car control systems such as brake-by-wire.

Now automakers are considering using this larger electronic pipeline as a vehicle's primary network.

With FlexRay's high-bandwidth capabilities, large amounts of detailed information can be communicated very rapidly. That allows extremely quick and precise mechanical responses.



Original Poster
klier said:
Why don't they simply knock on the doors of lets say IBM for such things?

Since BMW is German i'm sure they cooperate with a German company like Siemens for example.