Monday 20 September 2010

In-vehicle communication

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) promulgates the IEC 61375 series train communication networks (TCN).

Besides other communication technologies, CANopen has been selected as in-vehicle or train consist network (IEC 61375-3-3). This standard specifies additions to the generic CANopen application layer standard (EN 50325-4).

This is based on the CAN data link layer as specified in ISO 11898-1. CAN was originally developed for car in-vehicle networking. Nowadays, more than 600 millions of CAN chips are used per year.

CANopen might be called a hidden technology, because it is mainly used in embedded control applications. Typical examples are diesel engine or door or lightning control systems. CANopen is used especially in local and urban trains, in metros and trams. But increasingly it is used also in sub-systems for long-distance and cargo trains. In particular, the robustness of the CAN physical layer, the reliability of the CAN data link layer, the flexibility of the CANopen application layer, and the high-level interoperability of the CANopen profiles makes this technology so suitable for rail vehicle applications. Members of the CAN in Automation (CiA) nonprofit association develop dedicated CANopen profiles for trains. Several sets of profiles have been released, e.g. for diesel engine systems (CiA 423 series).

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