The Controller Area Network (the CAN bus) is a serial communications bus for real-time control applications. CAN operates at data rates of up to 1 Megabits per second and has excellent error detection and confinement capabilities.
CAN was originally developed by the German company Robert Bosch for use in the car industry to provide a cost-effective communications bus for in-car electronics and as alternative to expensive and cumbersome wiring looms. The car industry continues to use CAN for an increasing number of applications, but because of its proven reliability and robustness, CAN is now also being used in many other industrial control applications.
CAN is an international standard and is documented in ISO 11898 (for high-speed applications) and ISO 11519 (for lower-speed applications).
Low-cost CAN controllers and interface devices are available as off-the-shelf parts from several of the leading semiconductor manufacturers. Custom built devices and popular microcontrollers with embedded CAN controllers are also available. There are many CAN-related system development packages and available hardware interface cards and easy-to-use software packages that provide system designers, builders and maintainers with a wide range of design, monitoring, analysis, and test tools.
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