In-Vehicle Networks

Advances in automotive design have been propelled by dramatic increases in electronic systems content. Numerous electronic systems must communicate with each other over a complex network which often contains multiple communication protocols, such as CAN, LIN, and FlexRay standards. These complexities add significant challenges to verifying the physical network layer.

With a traditional prototyping approach it is impossible to build enough prototypes to adequately test even the most important variations of a network design. Virtual prototyping through simulation has become the proven solution for verifying data network reliability. Saber provides the comprehensive simulation and analyses capabilities needed to apply Robust Design methodologies to in-vehicle networks and ensure reliability.


Avionic network

Aerospace avionics networks provide CAN-based communication channels for systems that control flight, improve performance, ensure safety, and provide passenger comfort. Network reliability is critical to robust aerospace craft operation, requiring verification of the network’s logical and physical layers. While logical layer design and verification can begin early in the design process, physical layer verification has traditionally required hardware prototypes and is often delayed until late in the development cycle. Complex networks, however, require early physical layer verification. Avionics engineers are turning to Robust Design methodologies, coupled with modeling and simulation, to meet physical layer verification objectives.

Saber’s comprehensive analog and mixed-signal simulation and modeling capabilities, coupled with well-defined Robust Design methodologies, create a standalone environment for verifying the physical layer of avionics networks. Engineers develop network designs with transceiver and controller models from the Saber library. Using Saber’s comprehensive time domain, frequency domain, and statistical analyses, the network’s physical layer is verified long before a hardware prototype is available.


SABER Advantages of In-Vehicle and Avionic Networks

  • Verify network concepts and topologies early in the development cycle

  • Analyze specific network variants (min vs. max number of ECUs)

  • Analyze impact of topology types and EMC protection on signal integrity

  • Save time and eliminate errors with industry proven IVN libraries

  • Include wire characteristics in system simulations to analyze possible topology extensions

  • Model and characterize aerospace communication networks using industry standard VHDL-AMS & MAST modeling languages

  • Verify nominal network performance using standard analyses and maximize reliability with advanced sensitivity, statistical analysis, WCA and fault simulations

  • Increase analysis throughput with distributed simulations across multiple CPUs (grid computing)


More details:

Today’s vehicle design improvements are due in large part to the application of electronics to automotive systems. Vehicle functions are divided into systems and sub-systems to provide for passenger entertainment, comfort, and safety, as well as to improve vehicle performance and enhance powertrain control.

These systems must communicate with one another over a complex heterogeneous in-vehicle network (IVN). Each network typically contains multiple communication protocols including the industry standard Controller Area Network (CAN), Local Interconnect Network (LIN), and the recently developed FlexRay standard.


Topology of In-Vehicle Network using FlexRay
Topology of In-Vehicle Network using FlexRay


The list of communication network models available for the SABER simulator includes:

  • Transceivers: LIN, CAN, FlexRay
  • CAN controller including bit timing
  • Transmission lines for LIN, CAN, and FlexRay


Controller Area Network: An event driven communication protocol used in applications such as engine management and body electronics. The maximum specified data rate is 1 Mbps, though the practical maximum is 500 Kbps. Highspeed CAN is suitable for critical loads such as anti-lock braking systems and cruise control. Low-speed CAN is fault-tolerant and used for loads such as power seats and motorized windows.


Local Interconnect Network: A low-speed master-slave time triggered protocol meant to connect on-off type loads to higher speed networks. Typical loads include door locks, sun roofs, rain sensors, and powered mirrors. A LIN network is used as a low cost alternative if the full functionality of the CAN protocol is not required.


FlexRay: A fault-tolerant high-speed communication protocol targeted toward safety-related applications. The protocol can be operated in single or dual channel mode, where each channel has a maximum data rate of 10 Mbps. Using a dualchannel configuration, a FlexRay network can operate at speeds 20x faster than the maximum CAN bus data rate specification. Along with enabling safety-related applications, a FlexRay network is well suited as a communication backbone connecting heterogeneous networks together. 



Improving IVN reliability requires a systematic development approach that ensures reliability issues are addressed as an integral part of the physical layer design process. Design teams use robust design methodologies to manage complex communication network issues, particularly when verifying the physical layer, taking into account system and environmental variations that affect performance. Robust design is a proven development methodology that immunizes in-vehicle network performance against variations in system parameters and environmental conditions. The objective is to find the most cost-effective design solution that meets network performance and reliability specifications. Adopting a robust design methodology requires that design teams verify network performance across a broad range of conditions. A comprehensive simulation solution is required to effectively analyze complex vehicle communication networks. To verify if the vehicle network configuration satisfies system requirements, a prototype is often built to test the system’s signal integrity and verifying data network reliability.

The rapid increase of automotive electronics has led to daunting invehicle networking challenges. SABER tools are widely used by automotive OEMs and suppliers to design and verify network operation under a variety of conditions. The SABER simulator’s popularity in vehicle network design has led to the availability of essential IVN models by device manufacturers. These models are complimented by a comprehensive library of simulation models backed by 20 years of industry experience. Advanced modeling, simulation, and post-processing capabilities have established the Saber simulator as the standard robust design and analysis tool for in-vehicle network physical layers.



SABER provides the industry-leading, proven solution for Mechatronic design and verification supporting Robust Design methodologies. State-of-theart schematic capture, leading-edge simulation and analysis, extensive model libraries, industry standard language support, and powerful modeling capabilities make Saber the most powerful mixed-domain simulation solution available, and is the top choice among Automotive and Aerospace engineers worldwide.

The software SaberRD is developed by Synopsys and distributed by Powersys in Europe and north America.


SaberRD is an intuitive, integrated environment for designing and analyzing power electronic systems and multidomain physical systems. With the proven Saber® simulation technology at its core, SaberRD combines ease of use with the power to handle today’s complex electrical power problems, allowing engineers to explore design performance, optimize robustness and assure system reliability for a broad range of generation, conversion and distribution applications. SaberRD’s true multi-domain physical modeling capability and unmatched analysis capabilities provide engineers with a virtual prototyping platform that supports complete system design. With an intuitive and flexible user interface for casual and expert users alike, SaberRD accelerates design for engineering organizations in automotive, aerospace, defense and industrial power.



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