• Oct 24, 2008
Automakers have been adding electronic gizmos to vehicles for decades, and operating systems have been developed to allow each system communicate with one another. The OSs are different from one brand to the next, but BMW wants to help develop a system using an open-source Linux platform it's helping to create along with Google and Wind River Systems.
Using Linux as a base would allow anyone with a background in coding to make changes to the system to suit each manufacturer's needs. Plus, a single platform would make it easier for third-party vendors to create hardware or an application and be sure that it would work correctly in any vehicle using the OS. Automakers such as General Motors and Chrysler sound interested in the idea, while Ford and Honda, which already use a Microsoft OS in their cars, have a few more questions that need answering before they are ready to jump on the open-source bandwagon. In any case, in-car gadgetry's not going anywhere and it will take years for any one system to made standard.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]


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  • 13 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      MS OS is not utilized much in the automotive world - mainly in things like infotainment, SYNC and similar products.

      The OS used varies somewhat from OEM to OEM and Tier 1 to Tier 1.

      There is a much bigger initiative going on right now in the automotive world called AUTOSAR. This is an attempt to standardize SW so that a particular module (like a HVAC controller) can be supplied to different OEM's using the same SW.

      Currently CAN (Controller Area Network) is the prevalent technology used for virtually all modules, with others gaining acceptance, like FlexRay and LIN (local interconnect network) for various reasons such as higher bandwidth (FlexRay or lower cost (LIN). The problem with CAN has been that most OEM's have different implementations of it. For example, Daimler-Chrysler used DCNET (Chrysler still using this variant) Ford using FNOS and GM using GMLAN. Asian and European OEM's largely utilized their own variant. By moving to AUTOSAR, a supplier can save a lot of time and cost by utilizing largely the same SW in a module provided to different OEM's. The OEM's save money by not having to pay the supplier for the SW for the module being re-written to match the OEM's particular variant. AUTOSAR is also intended to allow the microcontroller to be changed on a module without the SW being rewritten to accommodate the micro's differing requirements, as they have to do now. Sorry for the rant, but this is my world and the electronics content in all vehicles is way more complex than the vast majority of people realize.
        • 6 Years Ago
        As a third year EE student who also loves working with cars I am, compelled to ask, what do you do for a living?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @tecmec - I work in the CAE realm, but only for electronics/SW. Very different than the mechanical side of things. According to our industry estimates, the electronics/SW content in a vehicle is now about 40% of the total cost.

        Google CAN, FlexRay or LIN to find out more.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Linux, whichever built, is based on UNIX.

      Now, the most popular and widespread implementation of Unix is actually a Mac OS X. Which brings me to the old joke about Gates vs. Detroit, http://www.snopes.com/humor/jokes/autos.asp .

      Point 6 - I'm all for that idea.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda uses M$?

      Goodbye Honda. Not because I hate M$, but because I simply cannot trust them to put reliability first.
        • 6 Years Ago
        thats the first of ive heard honda using a microsoft o/s in its cars. I think they maybe confused with KIA who i thought would be using a similar system to the SYNC as well.
      • 6 Years Ago
      so does this mean the computers that read the codes are not going to cost $40k anymore? if so that would be a tremendous help for those indy shops
      • 6 Years Ago
      "in-car gadgetry's not going anywhere"...
      Perhaps the AutoBlog author should have stated that the gadgetry is not going away any time soon. The current wording makes it sound like the technology is not evolving or making progress, when in fact, it is making significant progress and is really going somewhere.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Giayee Handheld Device Design House

      ----give you the most professional services, covering from schematic design , os porting & driver development , to product manufacte.

      More Information: http://www.giayee.com/service_android.asp
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks like BMW is turning to open source community to fix their buggy iDrive code.

      BMW aka "Break My Wallet", is not worthy of contribution from open source.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe BMW finally figured out that iDrive really is as bad as everyone says, and they want to socialize the solution to it.

        Sounds like they are looking for an equivalent to OBD-II, but for the vehicle interior. I don't see how this is possible with the rapid pace of gadget development. OBD-II, however, has been a stable platform for engine controls for many years, because the basic parameters to monitor don't change that much over time.

        Seems to me this would burden the inexpensive cars with an overly-complex infrastructure for numerous systems they won't offer. I notice the idea comes from a high-end manufacturer.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You must be lost, this is a car enthusiast's blog. Take your petty, juvenile comments somewhere else.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Considering how crazy popular Sync is I'm not surprised Ford would balk. It'll be interesting how this plays out once the already proven Sync tech spreads behyond Ford and Fiat at the end of the year.
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