A Controller Area Network (CAN) is a serial network information technology that facilitates the passing of information between Electronic Control Units (ECUs, also known as nodes). Developed by BOSCH in 1986 to circumvent challenges in harness-connected systems and provide improved message handling in automobiles, the CAN interface allows broadcast communication between all connected ECUs within a vehicle’s integrated electronic system through distributed control and decentralized measuring equipment. Since the early uses of CAN in car engine management, improvements in bitrate, bandwidth, and standardization protocols (such as ISO 11898 and SAE J1939) have led to CAN utilization in various industry applications, such as factory automation, aviation, off-highway vehicles, and telematics. Alternative wired and wireless technologies have been used to connect and network with CAN-BUS (such as Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, etc.), further expanding the diversity of applications in which the serial network is employed. In this chapter, the past, present, and prospective future developments of CAN technology, with focused attention on applications in the agricultural and off-road sectors are broadly examined. CAN technology fundamentals, standards creation, modern day uses, and potential functionalities and challenges specific to CAN in the wake of precision agriculture and smart farming are discussed in detail.
Part of the book: Technology in Agriculture