• Integration, Networking, and Communications

    In-vehicle communications and networking are an essential part of the modern automobile’s ability to communicate between actuators, modules, and sensors, and to reduce wiring weight. This network is used for controlling the anti-lock brake system (ABS), airbags, air conditioning, anti-theft, door locks, engine, radio, steering, suspension, transmission, windows, diagnostic tests, and more. In this network there is also a set of sub-networks such as LIN/SAE 2602, FlexRay, Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST), etc., to manage individual systems that may run under a different protocol (set of rules/standards). The common network linking all sub-networks is the controller area network (CAN), which has been the industry standard since 1994. Through CAN networking, information is shared over a common linkage between devices to eliminate the complexity of point-to-point wiring. Below are two images illustrating the two network configurations.

    Point-To-Point Wiring DiagramPoint Wiring Diagram

    CAN Bus Wiring DiagramCAN Bus Wiring Diagram

    Advantages of CAN networking are:

    • Decreased wiring harness complexity and cost
    • Increased functionality at a lower price
    • Smaller and more sophisticated electronic control units (ECUs) directly applied to actuators and sensors
    • Standardization of interfaces and components
    • Faster integration of new technologies and new devices
    • More reliable cars

    Browse the smart grid section of our Resource Library for additional materials.