BMW to Introduce High-Bandwidth Vehicle Data System

It's like Steve Jobs's garage all over again, only swap "garage" for billions of dollars in research facilities. BMW's X5 SUV will be the first guinea pig to get the new FlexRay high-bandwidth data network — a system being developed by a consortium of automakers and their electronics suppliers. The FlexRay consortium launched in 2000, led by BMW and DaimlerChrysler, Motorola and Philips Semiconductors (subsequent members include GM, Volkswagen and Bosch) as an effort to create a set of standards that will enable next-generation cars' internal systems. While on the X5, FlexRay will only be used to control suspension damping, its high capacity (20MB/sec — compared to 1MB/sec in current systems) will someday be used in drive-by-wire systems, which forgo mechanical linkages to acceleration and braking, for example, in favor of electronic connections. (Geek trivia: BMW, DaimlerChrysler and Bosch are also members of AUTOSAR, an effort to create an open platform for automotive data; meaning, someday cars' data platforms might be as open to developers as, say, Linux.)

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

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Open Systems for Car Computers? [internal]