Vehicle Networking - Commercial VehiclesAdvanced in-vehicle technologies are changing the automotive industry. These services create a safe environment where vehicles communicate with each other to avoid crashes, a concept called “vehicle networking” or “in-vehicle networking.”

This tech-driven infrastructure consists of many vehicle node networks that enable bidirectional interaction between vehicles and mobile devices to manage traffic, parking, and accidents. It also helps disseminate critical messages among the vehicles.

Vehicle networking is becoming increasingly popular in many countries. It can help reduce costs and improve fuel utilization efficiency, safety, and traffic management. Read on for more details on the role of vehicle networking.

What Is Vehicle Networking?

Vehicle networking is specialized communication that connects the internal components of vehicles, helping vehicles communicate their locations and receive real-time information to prevent accidents and crashes. 

Almost all vehicles (cars, buses, or trucks) have similar internal parts. They include:

  • Electronic control units (ECUs) 
  • Sensors
  • Engine control system
  • Actuators

The number of these components typically varies from vehicle to vehicle. For example, modern electric vehicles can have approximately 70 ECUs. They can also exchange around 2500 electronic signals among their different components.

A vehicle consists of different types of ECUs, such as: 

  • Transmission control unit
  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Body control modules
  • Speed control unit
  • Battery management system
  • Powertrain control module
  • Door control unit

ECUs, sensors, and actuators work together to establish a solid in-vehicle networking system. The ECUs receive input from the sensors, which help drivers identify and solve many recurring and potential car issues by monitoring the vehicle’s speed, fuel temperature, tire pressure, etc.

A Look Into Automotive Network Architecture

The automotive network architecture is the classic Electrical and Electronics (E/E) type. It is domain-based, with various domains connected via a central gateway. The architecture is scalable, allowing you to add or subtract domains. 

Every ECU in the E/E architecture uses specific protocols. These in-vehicle networking protocols transmit messages within a predetermined time limit and ensure that the messages are delivered correctly. The vehicle network toolbox then sends, receives, encodes, and decodes the messages.

Standard in-vehicle networking protocols include:

  • The Controller Area Network. It is a popular message-based standard protocol used in in-vehicle networks. The data packets don’t track the information of the messages’ sender or the receiver. It is low-cost and doesn’t need a central coordinator. CAN supports auto start or stop, parking management, and electric parking brakes. It also assists in collision prevention and automatic lane detection.
  • Automotive Ethernet. AE is a critical part of the in-vehicle networks that support modern vehicle applications. It satisfies high bandwidth requirements for safety applications, autonomous driving, and multimedia applications. It has a high 100 Mbps speed, which is 100 times quicker than CAN. 
  • FlexRay. This is a time-triggered standard protocol used in vehicle networking. It has an impressive high bandwidth of up to 10 Mbps. The ECUs connected with FlexRay protocol work according to global time and transmit and receive data frames within predefined global time limits. It also has a better fault tolerance than CAN. FlexRay is ideal for large data payloads and flexibility related to network topologies. It is also helpful in transmitting dynamic traffic data in a single cycle.

3 Attributes of Vehicle Networking Technology

Vehicle networking is a sneak-peak into a centralized, futuristic traffic system. Below are three attributes of vehicle networking technology.

Utilization Efficiency

The major impact of vehicle networking is fuel utilization. In-vehicle networking includes self-driving or autonomous vehicles that don’t require human drivers and cuts down the amount of fuel wasted when they’re stalled at work zones, traffic signals, toll booths, etc. This also helps reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions. 

Cost Reduction

Cost reduction is another notable attribute of vehicle network systems. The protocols and sensors used in in-vehicle networks are cost-effective but still offer full and advanced functionality compared to old-school, legacy connections previously used in automobiles.

For example, CAN is popular in automobile manufacturing because of its simplicity. It has low overall expenses, including wiring costs. Similarly, AE offers impeccable vehicle communication and lower latency at a much better price. 

Wired or Wireless

Having the choice between wired and wireless connection is a valuable attribute of in-vehicle networking. 

Wireless communication uses sensors and the Ethernet (or 5G) to connect the vehicle to the cloud and the environment, allowing it to send and receive signals.

Wired communications connect the ECUs and sensors that integrate the vehicle with its environment in real time. In this type of communication, vehicles need a high bandwidth and quick signal process to work.

Both wired and wireless options are helpful in establishing effective communication between vehicles. Vehicles exchange information faster, shortening vehicle distance in real time.

The Benefits of Vehicle Networking Technology

Automotive networking technology is making traffic control more manageable by improving several conditions.


The interconnection between vehicles allows them to share safety-related information quickly. For example, the system uses sensors and cameras to identify traffic congestion and can allow vehicles to respond instantly to avoid crashes, creating a safer transportation system. It will also allow emergency responders to reach accident scenes faster. As intersections and roadways become safer, overall public safety will improve. 

Operations and Performance Analysis

Real-time information lets you perform a thorough analysis of vehicle networks and the vehicle’s operations and performance. These modern vehicles are specifically designed to connect to the driver’s smartphone, allowing the driver to manage the vehicle’s functionality beyond answering a phone call or turning the vehicle on or off. The driver can view the vehicle’s diagnostic data through the connected smartphone. It also lets the user know about the vehicle’s upcoming service requirements.

Autonomous Driving

In-vehicle networks allow for autonomous driving with no human intervention. Self-driving vehicles can communicate their location with other cars and maintain a reasonable distance from each other, even at busy intersections. The credit goes to advanced sensors, cameras, and 5G networks that offer low latency and high speeds.


The protocols used in in-vehicle networks collaborate with the car’s sensors, actuators, and ECUs to convey information about its environment, system, and the potential impact of traffic. 

This crucial real-time communication proves to be effective for:

  • Engine management
  • Repair requirements
  • Brake control
  • Airbags control
  • Crash prevention
  • Traffic congestion prevention
  • Body systems control

How To Find the Equipment To Build a Connected Vehicle

The revolution of vehicles is here. To build a connected vehicle, you need attention to detail, expertise, and functional equipment to avoid in-vehicle network malfunctions. 

You can easily find many online distributors offering in-vehicle network testing options. But as a safe choice, try Novotech. We are the top hardware distributors powering the Internet of Things.

Novotech offers high-quality cellular gateways, sensors, embedded modems, and signal boosters — all the equipment you need to manufacture a smart vehicle.  Want to know more? Check out our blog on the essential equipment required to build a smart vehicle.