Linux's Next Frontier: €œIn-Vehicle Infotainment€�

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The FAQ is impressively articulate about the benefits of open source here:

What are the main benefits for the automotive industry of a reusable, open source IVI platform?

A reusable, open source IVI platform will:

Speed time-to-market
Accelerate innovation and increase perceived value
Dramatically reduce development costs
Provide a basis on which to cultivate the IVI ecosystem
Provide code transparency and mitigate vendor lock-in

What are the advantages of open source solutions over proprietary solutions?

An open source IVI platform provides 3 key benefits:

1.A common target for software developers seeking to enter the automotive domain. The current fragmentation means that the automotive OEM has to trigger the development and the software developer has to accept that the potential product volume is limited. A consistent platform deployment would address both of these limitations. 

2.Multi sourcing of a consistent but commercialized software platform. It is Genivi´s intention that they will become the upstream feed for the commercialized products. Genivi will encourage multiple commercial distributions to provide the 1st tiers and OEM with compliant alternatives. 

3.Transparency and an unprecedented level of access during development. A combination of consistency and visibility will enable a structured approach to product validation that will drastically improve efficiency across the value chain.

This analysis shows how well understood the power of open source has become, even in apparently peripheral areas like in-car entertainment.

Finally, there's an interesting reference to Moblin, Intel's Mobile Internet Device platform:

Moblin is an open source project focused on developing software for new categories of devices such as Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and NetBooks. In partnership with GENIVI, Moblin will act as an independent distribution mechanism for the first GENIVI open source reference implementations. The combination of the Moblin and GENIVI code will provide a automotive infotainment reference implementation that takes the best from both the consumer and automotive worlds.

The biggest question mark hangs of over licensing terms, which have not been announced yet, although the use of Linux limits GENIVI's options. And if you were wondering:

GENIVI (pronounced gen-ee-vee) is a concatenation of Geneva, the international city of peace and the acronym IVI, for In-Vehicle Infotainment, heralding a new era of cooperation among automakers, suppliers and technology providers in the interest of streamlining the development and support of connected services to cars aligned with mobile devices.

All-in-all, this is potentially an important announcement, in part because of the major names supporting the new organisation, but mostly as a statement that Linux is embarking on a new chapter in its development.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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