The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now – Will Linux Drive It?

The Age of the Connected Automotive is dawning. The
Linux Foundation is positioning an open supply Linux OS to take the entrance seat in steering carmakers to adopting
Automotive Grade Linux, or AGL, because the engine driving all in-automotive electronics.

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The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now – Will Linux Drive It?

Right now’s car has from 60 to 100 sensors to manage all the things from local weather to airbags and dozens of car parts. Carmakers count on that quantity to double as automobiles get smarter. The so-referred to as “smartcar” will use these sensors to do rather more than give the motive force a palms-free choice for altering lanes, breaking and parking.

Right now’s new automobiles have choices for Web connectivity and may hook up with functions for leisure, car service and upkeep. These linked automobiles can use apps on smartphones and tablets to offer driving companies akin to instructions, site visitors reviews, motel and restaurant locators, and rather more. They’ll do it independently of any onerous-wired navigational or leisure system the carmaker offers.

The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now - Will Linux Drive It?

Connected automobiles are a only a few years down the highway — however the on-board working methods that can run all the things are being designed and examined right this moment.

The Linux Basis is within the lead with a totally functioning Linux distro designed to let drivers put the Web pedal to the automotive steel. The first step is right here now: an open supply infotainment system. Across the subsequent nook, AGL will deal with the entire embedded methods and issues like telematic companies as effectively.

“As a platform, AGL is already there. We now have some producers already working with the platform right this moment. I feel we will count on to have a automotive with these things in it throughout the subsequent yr or so,” Dan Cauchy, common supervisor of automotive for the Linux Basis, informed LinuxInsider.

Crowded On-Ramp

Drivers are craving much more superior methods of their automobiles. Producers are involved in applied sciences like Broadcom’s
Automotive Ethernet and the Linux Basis’s AGL.

A number of embedded Linux contenders, akin to
Wind River and
MontaVista are producing quiet curiosity. So is Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay.

The Automotive Connectivity Consortium
MirrorLink is creating international requirements for telephone-centric automotive connectivity options. The know-how is already in use with some OEMs to manage a close-by smartphone from the steering wheel or by way of dashboard buttons and screens. Equally, QNX Software program Techniques has a foot or two in some autos with its QNX Automotive Platform for Infotainment.

“Finally, the place the know-how goes is as much as the OEM. We see first entry on the excessive finish of the autos for brand spanking new security sensors and connectivity,” mentioned Grant Courville, director of product administration at QNX Software program Techniques.

“We’re beginning to see them built-in into autos. We’re additionally beginning to see adjustments in security options to incorporate anti-collision sensors and navigational aids to enhance driver consciousness of his/her environment. It’s shifting from good-to-need to demanded options from shoppers,” he informed LinuxInsider.

Embryonic Stage

“We view the linked automotive as one other gadget within the Web of Issues. Vehicles are not remoted however have gotten a part of the linked world. OEMs at the moment are in a race to outline and deploy an ecosystem,” mentioned Jim Smith, vp of promoting at

This isn’t simply bolting on new layers to an present platform. It’s a radical change. There are in all probability six to 10 auto networking stacks out there now. These are competing applied sciences and requirements, he informed LinuxInsider.

A few of these competing platforms deal with particular forms of connections, akin to iPhones or Android merchandise. Nonetheless, the linked automotive will want an infrastructure and an ecosystem that serves extra functions than catering to a favourite client model. The linked automotive have to be gadget agnostic.

“OEMs are going to need to cooperate with supporting competing client merchandise. No OEM can solely help one sort of client gadget. That’s going to be the battle within the close to time period. You’ll see the OEMs dictating how that interoperability will work of their autos,” Smith mentioned.

One for All

Customers are going to need the performance of their Android or iPhone or no matter platform they like. They may need this accessibility with out fumbling round. They wish to plug it in and have it handshake routinely with the automotive. It needs to be safer, simpler and extra handy, based on Smith.

System selection is just one a part of the issue that carmakers face in delivering the linked automotive. Interoperability is one perform. Efficiency is one other. So the early phases of truly connecting the linked automotive to units and to the cloud is the battle to be gained proper now.

“All of those connections come from a number of suppliers and a number of gadget distributors. They’re all current within the car. That’s the drawback. All of those impartial methods need to work collectively on a shared bus,” mentioned Smith.

The Linux Answer

The Linux Basis’s AGL isn’t the one Linux entry within the race to win the linked automotive course. Different Linux-based mostly automotive methods have tried to realize the motive force’s seat with carmakers. These embody embedded Linux options that already management automotive subsystems. Android, as a type of Linux, is on this Linux combine.

AGL is completely different in that the Linux Basis is pushing it because the core automotive system for builders reasonably than presenting a manufacturing-prepared system like different contenders. AGL is a platform that can allow software program distributors to write down apps that can run throughout all compliant AGL implementations.

Automotive Grade Linux is the primary absolutely open supply automotive software program platform. It’s based mostly on the Tizen In-Car Infotainment (IVI) challenge. Tizen is present in some smartphones. It is also used because the OS in TVs and a few automobiles.

“It’s gadget-agnostic. We don’t resolve what’s going to join and what is not going to,” mentioned the Linux Basis’s Cauchy.

Full Bundle

AGL is a modified Linux distribution constructed for automobiles. Carmakers and gadget distributors can use it as a platform to construct customized software program for his or her autos and handheld units.

“We have already got an excellent referenced start line. As open supply, issues are at all times R&D. Our aim is to at all times enhance the platform. Options shall be ongoing. That’s by no means going to cease,” mentioned Cauchy.

The Linux Basis’s constitution to develop AGL covers all the things within the automotive, he mentioned. Infotainment is the half developed, as a result of that’s what the auto producers needed performed first.

The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now - Will Linux Drive It?

“It’s as much as the automotive makers to take this as a place to begin and switch it right into a product. They may add their very own feel and look, and modify so it appears to be like like they need,” Cauchy mentioned.

Acquainted Show

AGL already has the required working components in place. As an example, There’s a dashboard show with a totally useful person interface. It’s a touchscreen that’s similar to that of an iPhone or Android telephone.

That person interface didn’t consequence from design laziness. Slightly, it was meant to feed person familiarity. In actual fact, in contrast to typical rectangular screens used with car navigational shows, the AGL display screen has a vertical alignment very similar to the show on a cellphone.

“A variety of automakers requested that vertical design as a matter of familiarity for customers,” mentioned Cauchy.

What’s Inside

The AGL infotainment performance already has a whole lot of person functions. It has a house display screen and Google Maps, HV/AC controls, media playback and a newsreader. Add to that record of options audio controls and Bluetooth join settings.

The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now - Will Linux Drive It?

“We even have a smartphone join, which is a hyperlink to your telephone over Bluetooth. The total UI is written in HTML5 and Java Script. It is vitally leading edge — rather more leading edge than Android, to be sincere. HTML5 is the place it’s at. That’s the future,” famous Cauchy.

Automotive Grade Linux isn’t a dumbed-down working system. It’s a full Linux distro in its personal proper.

True to Its Core

There was no must tinker with AGL. No modifications to the Linux kernel have been wanted. AGL runs on fairly comparable {hardware} by way of processors and RAM, based on Cauchy. By way of peripherals, it is extremely comparable as effectively. There are peripheral connectors and a PCI bus.

“Little or no customization needs to be performed to undertake the Linux OS to auto environments. We will leverage what has already been performed to adapt Linux for cellular units and client units like TVs and such. Linux simply works,” Cauchy mentioned.

In actual fact, the one main distinction for car use is a particular bus for entry to automotive-particular issues and diagnostics. The solely factor required is for OEMs to have the license for entry to these methods. The Linux Basis doesn’t try this for them — however that’s simply built-in, Cauchy defined.

Lengthy Highway Journey Forward

Getting the linked automotive to the place it must be isn’t going to be straightforward or fast, however the means of getting there has begun nonetheless.

“The improvement will take time. Plenty of standardization and inter-business cooperation has to proceed. All people desires to make this occur. A variety of items of the puzzle have to return collectively. That features all the things from industries to suppliers to analysis establishments to car-to-car performance. Wanting past all of that, when you begin to mix these applied sciences, it begins to level you in a path. What we’re doing now’s the entire stepping stones and constructing blocks for that to occur,” mentioned QNX’s Courville.

The course of goes to mix what’s within the car with what’s integrating into the car and what’s connecting to and from the car. Doing that won’t take one dominant participant that can personal the requirements, he mentioned.

“I’ve seen grass roots actions in addition to requirements our bodies which are making an attempt to make this occur. There doesn’t appear to be one firm making an attempt to dominate all of it. You’ve firms which are innovating like loopy. The final aim is introducing applied sciences and intelligence to make the car safer,” Courville maintained.

It actually does appear to be a cooperative effort, in his view.

The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now - Will Linux Drive It?

The Connected Car, Part 2: Wired For Wireless – It’s All Business

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