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Auto standard promises 'plug & play' compatibility

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Version 2.0 of the Local Interconnect Network (LIN) automotive communications standard will permit “plug & play” compatibility between electronics components in cars by allowing the development of standardised parts from different suppliers and thus reuse without hardware or firmware alterations.

Since 2001, various car companies have adopted the existing LIN (1.0) platform and put products with LIN on the road. “LIN 2.0 is a robust release based on three years of product development and road testing with previous versions of the standard,” says Bernd Rucha, chairman of the LIN Consortium and manager of the Computing in the Car Laboratory at Motorola .

Typical applications for the LIN bus are assembly units such as doors, steering wheel, seats, climate regulation, lighting, rain sensors and alternators. In these units, LIN’s cost-effective nature is said to enable the introduction of mechatronic elements, such as smart sensors, actuators and illumination.

Connecting these elements to the car network and making them accessible to all types of diagnostics and services is also claimed to be much easier using LIN.

The LIN Consortium consists of representatives of automotive giants such as Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Volvo and Volkswagen; as well as communications specialist Volcano Communications Technologies and semiconductor manufacturer Motorola.

LIN 1.0 was released in March 2000 with the objective of defining and implementing an open standard for class-A serial buses in vehicle networks. LIN enables the implementation of a hierarchical vehicle network to gain further quality enhancement and cost reduction of vehicles. LIN’s “holistic approach” and the availability of well-defined tool interfaces is said to allow reduced design time of network systems with robust and fully predictable behaviour in the time domain.

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