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Embedded World 2016

CAN FD product launches and roadmaps

At the Embedded World, ISO CAN FD compliant products were shown, ranging from chips via tools to interface units and test systems. Some companies announced their roadmaps for CAN FD.

CAN FD starter-kit at the STMicroelectronics booth at Embedded World 2016 (Photo: CiA) Renesas demonstrated a running CAN FD network (Photo: CiA) Microchip and its K2L daughter exhibited their CAN FD products (Photo: CiA)

CAN FD is becoming more visible through CAN FD products. In Nuremberg, STMicroelectronics presented its CAN FD starter kit for the first time. It demonstrated the performance increase: The transmission of screen content was significantly faster with CAN FD compared to Classical CAN. Also Cypress, Microchip, and Renesas showed running CAN FD networks. At the CiA booth, the Bosch CAN FD demonstrator was exhibited.

CAN FD controllers and IP modules

Most visitors interested in CAN FD asked for micro-controllers with on-chip CAN FD modules. Atmel showcased its Smart SAM E70 micro-controller series, which provides two CAN FD interfaces with advanced analog features making them suitable for connectivity applications. Those chips are implemented for example in the company’s Avantcar.

The Avantcar by Atmel with CAN FD micro-controller at the Embedded World 2016 (Photo: Cindy Weissmueller)

At the fair, STMicroelectronics launched and showed the SPC57 family, the 2nd generation of 32-bit MCUs for automotive applications. The SPC57 L series is suitable for integrated Chassis applications and features ISO CAN FD. It is based on an e200zx Power Architecture core with floating point unit (FPU) and variable length encoded (VLE) instruction set.

Last year, during the Embedded World 2015, Infineon announced that they were planning to include CAN FD in their products. This year they have released the Aurix micro-controller family with up to six CAN nodes with CAN FD support. The 32-bit micro-controllers are suitable for automotive and industrial applications.

Microchip already offers a stand-alone CAN FD controller and CAN FD transceiver. This combination can be used with any micro-controller via SPI and is compliant with ISO CAN FD. Micro-controllers with CAN FD are under way and will be available in about a year. The chipmaker uses the CAN IP core by Kvaser. Most of the micro-controllers under development will be 32-bit.

In micro-controllers, Bosch’s M-CAN core is the most implemented CAN FD core. CAN FD cores are also interesting for providers of dedicated interface units, especially for toolmakers.

Renesas has developed its own IP and has been implementing it in its components for one and a half years. It is called RS CAN FD. While the company has non-ISO and ISO CAN FD available, only the ISO CAN FD components are being promoted. In the future, all of the company’s components will be available with CAN FD because demand is growing. GM already calls for proposals with CAN FD, and more carmakers are expected to follow their example.

Of course, most CAN FD interested visitors were asking for availability of micro-controllers with on-chip CAN FD modules. Bosch’s M-CAN core is the most in micro-controllers implemented CAN FD core. CAN FD cores are also interesting for providers of dedicated interface units, especially for toolmakers. Peak has implemented, for example, its own CAN FD core. But there also off-the-shelf cores available: for example by Cast, IFI and Inicore. Not all of them were present in Nuremberg.

Cast, which is part of Fraunhofer IPMS, showed the CAN-CTRL, which implements a CAN controller that performs serial communication according to CAN and CAN FD specifications. The CANFD-RD is a complete reference design for a CAN node subsystem based on the CAN-CTRL CAN and CAN FD controller IPC core. It can be used for evaluating the CAN-CTRL core, and it enables the rapid development of CAN FD applications or device prototypes.

CAN FD transceivers

Every CAN FD device manufacturer needs transceiver chips qualified for bit-rates higher than 1 Mbit/s. When finished, the ISO 11898-2 standard will specify the necessary parameters for transceivers for 2 Mbit/s and for 5 Mbit/s. Additionally, the CiA 601-1 specification provides calculation rules for other bit-rates, e.g. 4 Mbit/s. Transceiver parameters for 8 Mbit/s are not yet specified.

Microchip claims to support 8 Mbit/s with its CAN FD transceivers. Infineon, NXP, and Texas Instruments provide already transceivers qualified for 2 Mbit/s. NXP works on CAN FD transceivers featuring 5 Mbit/s, but there is nothing “official” yet. Elmos plans also to provide CAN FD transceivers, perhaps with partial wake-up functionality.

Peak has decided that CAN FD is black; for example the CAN FD interface for USB (Photo: Peak)

CAN FD interface units

CAN FD is black. Peak provides its CAN FD interface units in black housings or on black printed circuit boards. This includes the PCAN-USB FD adapter, which features a 500-V galvanic isolation that decouples the PC from the CAN FD network. The PCAN-USB Pro FD adapter enables the connection of CAN FD and LIN networks to a computer via USB. Two CAN FD networks can be connected at the same time. Each CAN FD channel is separately isolated against USB and LIN. The robust aluminum casing makes the adapter suitable for in-vehicle applications. In Nuremberg, Peak also exhibited first prototypes of its CAN FD hubs that also come in black enclosures. The company’s products are based on a self-developed CAN FD core. Peak was one of the first implementers of CAN FD. It was an early bird in the CAN FD business, meaning they made some of the initial deals. In the USA, Peak is presented by Grid Connect and Phytools.

EMS Dr. Wuensche, which has been providing CAN products since 1992, has already developed PC interface boards with CAN FD. The products use an FPGA with the CAN FD core by IFI, also used by HMS (formerly Ixxat) and Vector. However, the license agreement with Bosch is still pending. Implementing CAN FD in FPGAs or ASICs normally requires individual license agreements with Bosch. B-Plus is also developing CAN FD interface products based on the CAN FD core from IFI. Another interface product shown on the Embedded World is the CAN-PMC/FD. The on-board FPGA implements four CAN FD channels. The product requires a single PMC mezzanine slot.

HMS is updating all CAN interface products to support ISO CAN FD communication. Since last year, the company provides its CAN-IB500/PCIe passive PCI express board. Within the next month the active interface products with local micro-controllers will also be equipped with CAN FD hardware. Of course, the company will also provide CAN FD software support by means of driver software for operating systems. The application-programming interface (API) will be the same for all interface products.

In future, Vector’s entire CAN tool chain will support CAN FD (Photo: Vector)

CAN FD tools

Vector already supports CAN FD in some of its tools. The entire tool chain is under review, in order to support CAN FD. The review process will be finalized at the beginning of next year. This will also include all CANopen tools. CiA is currently developing the CANopen FD application layer. HMS will also support CAN FD in its tools, e.g. the canAnalyser. In Nuremberg, Peak showed prototypes of its new CAN FD tools, which will be available this year.

CAN FD development tools such as simulators and data recorders require interface units with CAN FD hardware. Companies such as dSpace develop their own interface boards. In Nuremberg, the company showed updated CAN FD products supporting also ISO CAN FD. This includes the DCI-CAN2 USB dongle as well as the DS4342 board featuring two CAN FD ports. The days of non-ISO CAN FD products are gone. OEMs request only ISO CAN FD for serial production.

Goepel introduced programmable communication controllers with CAN FD support for its Series 61 at the Embedded World. This hardware is the base for the companies’ Net2Run test systems. It can import CANdb and Fibex files. The test system provides an application-programming interface (API) for C and LabView. The Series 61 hardware features up to four CAN FD interfaces plus other communication interfaces including LIN and Flexray.

Of course, at the Embedded World most of the oscilloscope makers presented their CAN FD software packages interpreting measured bus signals. Prototypes of these products were already used in the CAN FD plug-fests organized by CiA last year. This year, the nonprofit association has scheduled additional plug-fests in Detroit (April) and Nuremberg (June).

Some OEMs plan to bring cars with CAN FD on the roads not later than 2020. General Motors, Daimler, and Volkswagen are ahead. Others such as PSA and Renault will follow. It is unknown when Hyundai and Toyota will equip their vehicles with CAN FD, but according to rumors it will happen around 2020. This is why CiA has scheduled several CAN 2020 events summarizing technology, marketing, and product intelligence information. These events addressing technical decision makers are free-of-charge for CiA members.

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