Freescale Semiconductor and Royal Philips Electronics both founding members of the FlexRay Consortium, have agreed to share their FlexRay technologies in hopes of shortening time to market for FlexRay products compatible with version 2.1 of the FlexRay protocol specification. The first vehicles equipped with networking capabilities based on the FlexRay protocol are expected in 2006.
“This is a major step toward introducing advanced control applications requiring high bandwidth into vehicles, allowing for more flexibility and design freedom for the car manufacturer, as well as greater safety, less fuel consumption and more convenience options for the driver,” said Harry Inia, general manager Automotive Business Line and vice president Philips Semiconductors.
“Freescale and Philips today have the only commercially available standalone FlexRay devices in the automotive industry,” added Paul Grimme, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale's automotive business. Freescale released the MFR4100 standalone FlexRay controller in October 2003 and the MFR4200 standalone FlexRay device in April 2004. Philips offers the TJA1080, a 10 Mbps FlexRay bus driver suitable for bus and star network topologies.
The companies will use a common FlexRay protocol engine design and a common System C-based reference software model to ensure interoperability of their FlexRay devices.
Freescale intends to include the FlexRay protocol engine design on products throughout its automotive portfolio, including the S12X, 56F8xxx, MPC55xx and MAC7x00 families. Philips intends to integrate the FlexRay protocol engine design throughout its ARM-based automotive microcontroller portfolio, including the ARM7 SJA20xx and the ARM9 SJA25xx families.
Freescale intends to license the shared FlexRay protocol engine design and the jointly developed executable protocol model.