Open source takes the wheel
MADISON, Wis. – Toyota Motor Corp. announced Wednesday (May 31) that its 2018 Camry will be its first vehicle to be sold in the United States running Automotive Grade Linux software on its infotainment system.
Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) is an open-source project hosted by the Linux Foundation. AGL claims that “more than 100 members have worked together,” and contributed code to develop “a robust, Linux-based operating system and application.”
Toyota’s endorsement appears to be a much-needed boost for the software’s proponents.
Given a membership roster heavily tilted toward Japanese vendors (AGL’s platinum members include Denso, Mazda, Panasonic, Renesas, Suzuki and Toyota), industry analysts tend to see AGL’s appeal as geographically limited.
Mike Demler, senior analyst at the Linley Group, observed, “AGL is very Japan-centric, and just one of several (and likely the least mature) flavors of Linux for automotive.”
Danny Kim, a director and partner at Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), partly agreed. He noted, “AGL’s regional dominance would likely be limited to Asia (or Japan) at the beginning, just like Genivi was to Europe.” However, he described Toyota’s announcement as “a significant endorsement for the standard to be successful as any standardization needs to be led by a major OEM.”
The question is how wide and broad AGL can penetrate the global automotive market. Several different automotive software platforms are already available, with numerous users.
Beyond Blackberry’s QNX, “which has the largest share,” said Demler, Wind River and Green Hills have also preceded AGL. Mentor Graphics is an automotive Linux supplier, Demler added, while Green Hills “supports integration of QNX and other Linux in their automotive platform.”
The AGL promoters explain their advantage as “sharing an open platform, code reuse and a more efficient development process.” The idea is to “ultimately reduce development costs, decrease time-to-market for new products and reduce fragmentation across the industry,” according to AGL.