2007 BMW X5 intros high-speed communication chip based on Flexray tech

Munich (Germany) - BMW today announced a new version of its X5 flagship SUV. It's larger, stronger and faster and probably better and more expensive than its predecessor, but what makes this new model especially interesting form a technological view is the presence of a Flexray chip.

Developed in a consortium that includes BMW, Bosch, DaimlerChrysler, Freescale, General Motors, Philips and Volkswagen, Flexray is a protocol that delivers about 10 Mbit/s bandwidth for communication between active and passive safety systems, collision avoidance systems, powertrain management systems and driver assistance systems. Flexray is about 20 times faster than comparable and current in-car communication systems, according to Freescale.

According to the Flexray consortium, the technology is expected to be used in time- and event-triggered communication schemes, support of fault-tolerant systems and offer a high error detection and error diagnosis capability, a dedicated automotive electrical physical layer with sophisticated powerdown and wake up mechanisms, extendability and scalability for upgrades and support for different network topologies.

Freescale is currently the only manufacturer that has announced Flexray processors.

BMW did not say when the new X5 will be available and how much it will cost. But expect to pay substantially more than for today's model, which has an entry fee of at least $42,500.