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Annual review 2017

CAN FD took-off, but there are still things to do

This year was successful for CAN FD: chipmakers, interface unit providers, and tool suppliers introduced products. OEMs started with first system designs, which will go into serial cars, soon.

In 2017, the 16th iCC was the first event for CAN FD experts to exchange knowledge and experiences (Photo: CAN Newsletter)

2017 was the year of CiA’s 25th anniversary. The focus was on CAN FD starting with the 16th international CAN Conference (iCC) in March. Sponsored by ESD, Etas, and HMS, this conference was held in Nuremberg (Germany), the home of the CAN in Automation (CiA) international users’ and manufacturers’ group. Most of the presentations are available online as videos on Youtube.

Nearly all OEMs are evaluating CAN FD for their next generation of in-vehicle network architectures. In 2017, even the late birds started to test CAN FD prototype networks. Most of those pre-developments are done in close cooperation with Tier1 suppliers and the providers of CAN FD semiconductors, controllers as well as transceiver.

Most of the MCU suppliers launched in 2017 new chips with integrated CAN FD modules (Photo: NXP)

In 2017, several chipmakers launched additional micro-controllers with integrated CAN FD modules. For example, Renesas introduced its RH850 series featuring up to six CAN FD interfaces, NXP and ST developed Cortex-M4 based MCUs with on-chip CAN FD modules, and Cypress released Traveo micro-controllers with CAN FD modules. In addition, several CAN FD core suppliers integrated their products in application-specific circuitries. Fraunhofer reported about 25 projects. Such dedicated CAN FD core implementations are often used in CAN FD board-level products. ESD, HMS, Kvaser, and Peak have launched for example some CAN FD interface products in 2017.

The CAN FD demonstrator by TI showed at CES 2017 comprised 20 nodes (Photo: Texas Instruments)

Texas Instruments showed a CAN FD demonstrator with 20 nodes at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. It used the company’s CAN FD transceivers. Several other chipmakers launched in 2017 additional transceivers qualified for bit-rates higher than 1 Mbit/s. All these products comply with ISO 11898-2:2016. The related conformance test plan, internationally standardized in ISO 16845-2, is now in the final balloting. Publication as international standard is expected beginning of 2018. Additionally, CiA released in 2017 the specifications CiA 601-1 (version 2.0.0) and CiA 601-2 (version 1.0.0): Part 1 explains the CAN FD physical layer for device designers and part 2 recommends the host controller interface for CAN FD controllers. CiA members continued to specify and recommend CAN FD for device and system designers. One of the most interesting topics is the ringing suppression circuitry (CiA 601-4). Different approaches were discussed and are still under evaluation. Ringing suppression is necessary to achieve robust communication in non-busline topologies and at higher bit-rates (beyond 5 Mbit/s).

The CON 4055 stress and trigger tool features four CAN FD interfaces (Photo: Goepel)

Other topics discussed in 2017 in CiA’s CAN FD related task forces are common-mode choke (CiA 110) and cable specifications (CiA 601-6). Still in preparation for publication is CiA 601-3 recommending how to set the bit-timing for the arbitration and the data-phase. It is more a framework than a specification as for example SAE J2284-4 (for 2-Mbit/s bus-line topology) and SAE J2284-5 (for 5 Mbit/s point-to-point communication) already released in 2016. CiA 601-3 will include an Excel spreadsheet evaluating the robustness of the selecting bit-timing parameters. It is a first measurement, if the bit-timing is suitable or not.

Several oscilloscope suppliers introduced in 2017 CAN FD triggering and decoding options (Photo: Rohde & Schwarz)

In summer of this year, CiA released the new version of CiA 602-2 specifying the mapping of J1939 Parameter Groups and transport layer protocols to CAN FD messages. This specification has been introduced to the SAE J1939 committee for adaptation, but no final decision has been made. In September, CiA released the CiA 1301 CANopen FD application layer and communication profile. First implementations were demonstrated in a running system on CiA’s booth at SPS IPC Drives tradeshow in Nuremberg. Protocol stacks by Emtas, ESD, HMS, and Microcontrol were implemented on several CAN FD hardware platforms.

On the CAN FD tool side, several products were introduced in 2017. Some oscillator suppliers updated their CAN FD software plug-ins, Goepel introduced a physical layer CAN FD stress tool, and several CAN FD compliant data-loggers were released. IMC developed, for example, a two-channel CAN FD data-logger and also equipped its measurement system with CAN FD interfaces.

It was a busy year for CiA members to make progress in the development of CAN FD related standards, specifications, and recommendations. “I like to thank all participants for their effort in contributing their knowledge and experience,” said Holger Zeltwanger, CiA’s managing director. “In 2018, we will continue to finalize the documents.” Jaspar (Japan Automotive Software Platform and Architecture), a nonprofit association, cooperates with CiA closely in developing CAN FD recommendations for device and network system.

CiA organized several events in 2017 focusing on CAN FD technology. Besides the above-mentioned iCC, this included webinars, face-to-face seminars, as well as some presentations on conferences. The one-day seminar in Shanghai in November jointly organized by Hirain and Kvaser was participated by about 140 attendees. CiA’s managing director, Holger Zeltwanger, and Kent Lennartsson were the main speakers.

Our sister publication, the quarterly published CAN Newsletter magazine to be downloadable as PDF file, provided in 2017 some detailed information about CAN FD and CANopen FD:

Next week, our office is closed. We will come back to our desks on January 2nd. The next Weekly Telegraph, an email information about published news in CAN Newsletter Online, will be send next in the first week of 2018. If you do not like to miss something new in the CAN business, you should subscribe to it (just provide your email address on the left column and submit it).

(Photo: Fotolia)

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Nickel Plankermann, Cindy Weissmueller, and Holger Zeltwanger