ESA title
Enabling & Support


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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology / Microelectronics

The design of the Controller Area Network (CAN) VHDL IP core started as a prototype activity with the intention to understand the internal of a CAN (Controller Area Network) controller and not to develop the full controller.

It was then gradually taken to the present level in a low level priority activity. The HurriCANe has now gone through 4 major versions with a major improvement in the release 3.

The latest release includes the CAN B features not available in the previous releases.


The HurriCANe is a VHDL core comprising the following elements:
* CAN controller core,
* AMBA APB wrapper (to integrate the CAN core into a system-on-chip),
* testbenches,
* synthesis scripts and reports,
* documentation.

The HurriCANe Design Hierarchy is illustrated in the following diagram (click on thumbnail to enlarge).

HurriCANe Design Hierarchy
HurriCANe Design Hierarchy

The following block diagram illustrates the internal structure of the CAN core in a bit more detail (click on thumbnail to enlarge).

Internal structure of the CAN IP core
Internal structure of the CAN IP core

Area/Speed Results

CAN 5.2.4 on ACTEL A54SX72A

- Combinational cells : 1217 of 4024 (30%)
- Sequential cells : 530 of 2012 (26%)
- Total cells : 1747 of 6036 (31%)
- Clock buffers : 2
- Max clock frequency : 10.4 Mhz

Developers and contributors

Luca Stagnaro (ESA), Massimigliano Bracco (ESA) - CAN v.4.6 (1999)


Egidio Pescari (Aurelia Microelettronica S.p.A.) - CAN v.5.0 (2001)

Francisco Tortosa Lopez (ESA) - CAN v.5.1 (2005)

Fabrizio Bertuccelli (Aurelia Microelettronica S.p.A.) - CAN v.5.2.4 (2008)

Current Release

Version 5.2.4, 26-May-2008

An encrypted Modelsim (6.3d) simulation model is available for evaluation.

For a history of bug reports and fixes, modifications, upgrades, etc, please refer to the CAN IP Core Release Notes.

Special licensing restrictions

None. In case the IP-Core is used outside of an ESA activity/project, a license has to be obtained from Bosch for the use of the patents on the CAN Protocol.

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