Superfast data transfer brings self-drive cars step closer

SOUTH KOREAN university researchers have designed an enhanced electronic automotive transmission protocol that sends existing technology into the stone age, bringing the age of self-drive cars a step closer.

A Controller Area Network or CAN-bus protocol is an automotive standard developed by Bosch between 1983 and 1987. It allows microcontrollers and car components to communicate with each other without needing a host computer.

It is a message-based protocol, designed originally to multiplex electrical signals within automobiles, but is also used in many other contexts.


Compared to today’s commonly used 1Megabyte per second CAN-bus, this new Turbo-CAN protocol unveiled by Korea’s Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology this week, transfers data at an incredible 100 Megabytes per second, removing information bottlenecks stifling further development of in-car networks, reports Korea’s Arirang news, with a video clip (above) to explain how the new protocol works.

The Turbo Controller Area Network links a range of automotive devices, from engine control, lighting system and brakes to airbags.

While the regular CAN is suitable for processing applications with relatively low data capacity such as sending brake or lighting signals, the next step in motoring is about self-driving cars that require complex programs such as camera sensors and auto speed controllers.

Turbo-CAN uses passband signal processing and can process complex data up to a hundred times faster, said Arirang. The technology is expected to take two years to come online with manufacturers.