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Embedded World 2022

CAN XL IP core: More security in electronic vehicle systems

At the Embedded World 2022 trade show from June 21 to June 23, both Fraunhofer IPMS and Renesas presented the CANsec IP core for the first time. The semiconductor performs serial communication according to Classical CAN, CAN FD, and CAN XL.

More safety in vehicle systems with the IP core CAN-SEC from Fraunhofer IPMS (Source: Fraunhofer IPMS)

Modern vehicles have a large number of electronic systems that are networked with each other. Since these systems are at risk from cyber attacks, Fraunhofer IPMS developed a CANsec IP core that makes vehicle systems more secure. The IP core is already being evaluated in a demonstration by partner Renesas Electronics Corporation, a semiconductor company that delivers embedded processors together with analog and power products. At the Embedded World 2022 trade show both Fraunhofer IPMS and Renesas presented the IP core for the first time. Renesas showed a demonstration with the integrated CAN-SEC IP core. Fraunhofer IPMS was also represented at the fair and showed its latest developments and various cores including the CAN-SEC.

Vehicle electrics and electronics are becoming increasingly comprehensive due to the growing number of sensors and actuators, driver assistance systems, and additional control units, explained Fraunhofer. It is not uncommon for a luxury class car to have up to 120 control units. This leads to an increasing complexity of communication control in vehicle networks, which require guaranteed low latency and higher bandwidths. At the same time as the complexity of the electrical/electronic architecture (E/E architecture) in vehicles is growing, so is the potential for cyber attacks on vehicle networks. These can cause both financial, but above all functional damage, which in the worst case can affect the safety of passengers inside, the company further explained. Therefore, the automotive industry uses different network technologies to meet the various technical, but also economic requirements of a vehicle.

CAN is one of the most commonly used data transmission protocols. It convinces through robustness, flexibility, and the associated cost savings, said the company. Since its development in the 1980s, several variants of this serial bus system have been developed to meet increasing requirements. The latest variant CAN XL allows higher data transmission rates and also a scalable user data length, which makes it possible to include additional safety information. CiA 613-1 and CiA 613-2 are currently under development by CAN in Automation (CiA) to extend the CAN XL protocol with security functions (CANsec). This protects against unauthorized access and ensures the integrity and authenticity of the origin as well as the confidentiality of data in CAN-based networks.

Building on this, the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS developed the CANsec controller IP core CAN-SEC. This can be used directly between the host processor and a CAN XL IP core. Marcus Pietzsch, leader of the IP Cores and ASIC Design group at Fraunhofer IPMS, explained, "The new CAN-SEC IP core builds the CANsec structure in the buffers of the CAN XL core directly before the frame is sent or directly after it is received. It can be used together with the CAN controller IP core of Fraunhofer IPMS as well as with IP cores of other manufacturers and, like all other IP cores of Fraunhofer IPMS, can be used platform-independently in all FPGAs and foundry technologies.”


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