NXP ships one millionth FlexRay transceiver for automotive networking

Eindhoven, The Netherlands — Reflecting the automotive industry’s increased adoption of FlexRay in-vehicle networking, NXP Semiconductors has shipped its one millionth FlexRay Physical Layer compliant transceiver.

The milestone also marks the company’s number one position as the leading supplier of in-vehicle networking technology. However, competition is underway with two or three other suppliers with FlexRay transceivers under development.

FlexRay is the next-generation automotive standard for deterministic, fault-tolerant, high-speed data communication, which delivers networking performance required by newer and enhanced automotive applications such as brake-by-wire and steer-by-wire, said NXP.


NXP expects FlexRay technology to gain an increasing share of the automotive networking market as demand for real-time electronic control in safety-critical applications expands. By 2015, Strategy Analytics expects FlexRay to account for around eight percent of global bus transceiver revenues, from less than one percent in 2009. The market research firm projects the bus transceiver market will reach nearly $1 billion by 2015.

“Around seven or eight year ago, the industry recognized that it would need to take the next step in networking for the automotive environment that would provide higher bandwidth, and make the protocol time triggered,” said Jeroen Keunen, FlexRay Consortium executive board member and general manager of NXP’s Integrated IVN & FlexRay MST of NXP Semiconductors.

The FlexRay Consortium, consisting of major automotive makers and suppliers, has more than 100 members, which guarantees FlexRay will be the next standard in bandwidth and time-triggered behavior, said Keunen. In addition, the standard is now supported by European, Japanese and U.S. car OEMs to drive high-volume rollout, he said.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the next version of FlexRay’s Protocol Specification V3.0 will include requirements proposed by the Japan Automotive Software Platform and Architecture (JASPAR) organization. The new protocol will be released in the 2009/2010 timeframe.

The global market share for Japanese car OEMs is about 35 percent so for the FlexRay Consortium it was critical to come to an alignment with the Japanese industry, and the JASPER consortium had the same opinion, Keunen said.

As the next generation in-vehicle networking, FlexRay has much higher bandwidth — about 10 times higher — than the existing car area network (CAN) standard, and is expected to be the communication backbone for enabling brake-by-wire and drive-by-wire applications, which will help reduce car weight and energy consumption and allow for better safety, said Keunen.

Although the first applications are bandwidth driven, high-end car makers are exploring the maturity of the technology to move to the benefits of time-triggered deterministic characteristics, he added.

NXP’s FlexRay transceiver was first road tested by BMW with its 2007 BMW X5, the first series production car with a built-in FlexRay system. This was followed by the fifth generation 7 series in 2008, which uses up to 11 FlexRay node transceivers.

Complementing the TJA1080A product, NXP recently released the TJA1081 and TJA1082 FlexRay node transceivers addressing car manufacturers’ need for high-speed, fault-tolerant communication systems and flexible and scalable electronic networks.

Keunen expects all high-end brands to soon introduce their next-generation models based on FlexRay technology.

Rob Hoeben, marketing manager for FlexRay at NXP expects high-end car makers to implement FlexRay technology in their mid-range vehicles between 2012 and 2014, along with mainstream U.S. car markers during the same time frame. Most likely, Japanese car makers will follow in 2014, he said.