Automobiles are becoming part of the Internet of Things. “Connected” technologies now power telematics and infotainment systems and increasingly are deployed for driver assistance and to enhance the safe operation of autonomous vehicles. These “intelligent” vehicles rely on an ecosystem of proprietary and third-party components to gather, analyze and then react to data from both inside and outside the vehicle. In some cases, automakers and their suppliers are eschewing the development of proprietary solutions and turning to pre-existing building blocks such as open source software (OSS) to reduce costs, accelerate development and enhance the interoperability of connected technologies and applications. For instance, as early as 2013, automotive companies began weighing the pros and cons of various operating systems to use as the technology platform for infotainment systems and then adapting existing or developing their own, proprietary platforms. More recently, several automakers have announced their participation in the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) community and their intent to collaborate and use the AGL platform for infotainment systems across multiple vehicle models.1 Some common objectives cited by such participants were:
- The need for a very capable and flexible operating system that would be able to interface with varied peripherals and not be solely dependent on a proprietary operating system managed by a third party.
- The need for a cost-effective approach to software development, the cost of which has been increasing due to the inclusion of new applications in vehicles and thereby representing an increasing percentage of the total vehicle cost. OSS allows each automaker to reduce such costs by leveraging common building blocks over a larger vehicle population, particularly in undifferentiated or brand-neutral applications and components.
- The ability to foster more rapid innovation through collaboration.