The evolution from merely networked systems to complex fault-tolerant distributed systems in vehicles is placing increasing demands on the communications system. This evolution is driven by an increasing shift from mechanical to electrical systems with the objective to enable the realization of new classes of functionality throughout the networked vehicle.

With this development in mind the FlexRay Consortium set out to define a communications system encompassing the specification of a communications protocol as well as the specification of key needs of the physical media for such next-generation distributed automotive systems.