• Apr 3rd 2007 at 7:54PM
  • 20

As any fledgling tuner knows, a car's ECU's are the little things that mean a lot, and the modern car has dozens of them. For Toyota, which is working with suppliers to create an in-house operating system that will rationalize the number of control units and the amount of code controlling them, fewer ECUs will mean massive cost savings, faster development, and increased efficiency.

Currently, new software is written from scratch for each ECU in each new model. By working with its suppliers early in the development phase, Toyota wants to integrate components into modular systems, making for safer, less complex, and less expensive (for Toyota, at least) vehicles. As part of Toyota's two-year-old Value Initiative program -- only the latest step in Toyota's ruthless drive to be a leaner car company and stay in front of its competitors -- in-house software development will aid in CEO Katsuake Watanabe's aim to cut nearly $9 billion in costs.

Software teams are in place now, but a working version isn't expected until 2015. With fewer ECU's and one OS to rule them all, the word "crash" could take on new meaning. We can only hope that Toyota will take its OS-writing lessons from Apple, and not Microsoft.

[Source: Engadget]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago

      If you would read past the first line of the article that you linked you would see that a lot of the rest of the discussion refutes your implication that MS Windows is more secure than the Mac OS.

      If you would actually study the report from Symantec that the article is talking about you might realize that nowhere in it does Symantec come to the conclusion that MS Windows is more secure than anything else. In fact most of the report deals with Microsoft security issues, as one would expect.

      If I were you in the future I would try and stay away from telling others how little they know about the tech industry.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #13 is correct

      I'm surprised all manufacturer's didn't have something like that before.

      And, for heaven's sake, this isn't a PC OS. It's more like the sort of systems that are used in fighter planes; fault tolerant, real time, etc

      Now, it WOULD be nice if companies could standardize on an OS to drive the GPS and entertainment bits, but everyone is rolling their own or buying one from a vendor.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Let's not forget that Formula 1 will run standard ECUs from 2008 onwards; ECUs made and developed by none other than Microsoft...

      *comment cross posted to Engadget

      • 8 Years Ago
      Why not just us the linux kernel, or BSD like Apple? It is madness to start from scratch unless they hope to license this to other companies.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Leave the OS ignorance out of Autoblog. If drivers download the crapplet-of-the-week into their Camry's engine because it's a required plug-in to visit some hurl-inducing cuteness their friend emailed them, you'll find Toyotas become about as reliable as a PC.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As a firmware engineer, I will never buy such a thing that the car will go out of control if my CD player crashes. No matter what, the power train must be on a separate controller just for safety reason.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think #18 proved the very point he was trying to make just by writing his comment:

      "That's why people choose Microsoft products. Even village idiots can use it no problem."
      • 8 Years Ago
      Saving $9 billion in costs is a huge number, I had no idea they spent that much on software paying other companies. I am surprised no other car company has come up with this idea until now.
      • 8 Years Ago
      MS have no place in embedded system, most uses RTOS like VxWorks from WindRiver or a micro linux kernel that are only 1-2k bytes in sizes. VxWorks are the most popular because they are small and have very good support in automotive applications, while linux are free and large.

      The problem is that there will never be a software that is completely bug free, like a human that has completely perfect health with no genetic problems. When putting powertrain controllers together with entertainments, it is very easy for a bad or run away software like the GPS to kill the powertrain or ABS/Traction control.

      As a matter of fact, for this very reason every ECU has a backup processor in there just to make sure it can "limp" home safely in open loop.

      Oh, by the way, the definition of an OS is a task switching kernel that help each task share a common resource(s) like time slice, memory, and IO. What you see in Windows is actually a bloated application with fancy GUI and a bunch of useless stuff.

      Everything has an OS in there nowadays, like your phone, your mouse, your USB flash drive, your TV, your DVD player, etc.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Fred, you got the best point in this discussion.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Toyota American Innovation!!!

      Toyota's astuteness and innovaton keeps them ahead of the crowd. Ready in 2015? Gees! I bet it will be ready before Chevy Volt(if the volt ever makes it the market).

      Don't try to say the BMW idrive was the first....pls that thing wasnt an OS.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Uh huh and pigs fly, cheaper to make for them, more computing power in one box, replacement cost,also out of this world.
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