Vehicle Electronics & Architecture (VEA)

Emerging Trends in Intra Vehicle Networks for Data, Control and Power Distribution

by Jay Murphree; Roark Weil; John R. Wootton


Current and future military vehicles will be expected to not only last longer than their predecessors, but also operate with a flexible mission package. These vehicles must be architected for lifecycle multiple upgrades of electronics and general product improvements. The ability to be upgraded and reconfigured for flexible mission profiles compels the vehicle’s architecture be centered around a “data bus” network backbone that facilitates “universal plug and play” of electronic payloads. The vehicle’s over all data stream will consist of at a minimum of voice, video, control and diagnostics. To maintain flexibility as well as to be cost effective in support of the “plug and play concept” for new and upgraded electronic payloads it is a fundamental requirement that every type of current and foreseeable data streams be able to coexist on one single network backbone. Only this architecture will guarantee the most flexible, and scalable reconfiguring for future expansions or mission equipment changes. Military vehicles use higher and higher resolution multiple wavelength sensors for target acquisition, a proliferation of cameras for both day and night driving and (360°) situation awareness. The need/demand for any selection of available video at various crew stations with less and less latency is on the rise. The growing trend within the military is to follow the commercial world of delivering both video and voice over the digital IP network. Within a military vehicle, the trend is consistent with the adoption of digital voice IP and video IP networks. The issues of capacity and bandwidth are ever present, coupled to the need for faster speeds, less latency, secure, self diagnosing networks, self reconfiguring networks and scalability. The need for flexibility and growth for vehicle controls and health management (which today is supported by the vehicle’s 1939 can bus) requires a vehicle architecture which allows tunneling that the control signal data has a guaranteed delivery, and further the architecture can be expanded to accommodate new controls, and low band width data such as vehicle health management. DRS Technologies Page 2 of 21 Emerging Trends in Intra Vehicle Networks for Data, Control and Power Distribution A power distribution network also needs to coexist with the control and data networks. The authors will discuss the emerging trends in all three areas, together with the need to operate asynchronously yet allow tunneling of the control and data networks. We will discuss the trends in topologies for all three networks, and how to ensure that they are scalable, and fault tolerant, self diagnostic and self reconfigurable, together with a fault tolerant communication protocol. We will also discuss the work primarily being developed at DRS TEM and DRS SSI in regards to these networks.