NI Rolls Out FlexRay Virtual Instrument Library for LabVIEW

12/2/2004 - Automotive engineers now can use the new FlexRay library for LabVIEW from National Instruments to quickly and easily test devices on a FlexRay communications network. The FlexRay library offers a set of 28 virtual instruments (VIs) specifically designed to work with the bus protocol defined by the FlexRay Consortium’s System Specifications Version 2.0 standard.

FlexRay is a new deterministic, fault-tolerant and high-speed bus system developed by automobile manufacturers and leading suppliers to address the needs of current and future in-car control applications. FlexRay delivers the error tolerance and time-determinism performance requirements for x-by-wire applications – such as drive-by-wire, steer-by-wire and break-by-wire – and has a data frame up to 127 words (254 bytes), which is more than 30 times the amount offered by a Control Area Network (CAN) bus. The free, downloadable FlexRay library for LabVIEW makes it easy for engineers to communicate with devices on a FlexRay network. In addition, the FlexRay library for LabVIEW supports the FlexCard from TZM.

“National Instruments supports the development of open standards throughout the automotive industry and is a member of the FlexRay Consortium,” said Robert Canik, NI director of instrument control and industrial communications. “The new library of FlexRay LabVIEW VIs demonstrates our commitment to supporting this advanced communications bus and empowers engineers to take advantage of LabVIEW graphical programming for emerging in-car control applications, including the support of x-by-wire features and advanced control systems.”

New developments in the automotive industry create increased demands that existing communication protocols cannot easily address, including the need for higher data rates, deterministic behavior and the support of fault-tolerance. A FlexRay communications bus offers synchronous and asynchronous data transfer, increased frame length, guaranteed frame latency and jitter during synchronous transfer and prioritization of messages during asynchronous transfer. The FlexRay protocol also provides multimaster clock synchronization, dual-channel data transfer, flexible bus topology, error detection and signaling.

“Our customers need increased functionality that requires more flexibility in both bandwidth and system extension,” said Heinz Herbert Wolters, general manager of MeasX GmbH & Co. KG, a Select National Instruments Alliance Partner. “The ability to create automated test applications with LabVIEW on a FlexRay bus network gives us the flexibility, communications availability, reliability and data bandwidth that we need for advanced applications in power train, chassis and body control.”

To obtain more information and download the FlexRay library for LabVIEW, readers may visit

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists in industry, government and academia approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 41 countries. In 2003, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries. For the past five years, FORTUNE magazine named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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