Novi, MI – Embedded software giant Wind River Systems Inc. said it is collaborating with Intel Corp. to create an open source Linux platform for automotive infotainment.
The announcement, made at Telematics Detroit 2008, is considered significant, not only because it involves two big industry players, but because it suggests Linux will play a major role in the future of infotainment technology.
“With the introduction of open standards, we are clearly saying to developers, ‘This is the base platform going forward, and we will support you,’” said Paul Tu, Linux product line manager for Wind River.
The open source platform will be optimized for Intel Atom, a CPU intended for use in smart phones, ultra-mobile PCs and other embedded applications.
Wind River said yesterday it is taking the open source route for this set of applications because the auto industry faces daunting challenges in the integration of consumer electronics in vehicles. Development cycles of the two industries are dramatically mismatched, making it more difficult and more costly for automakers to integrate consumer devices such as iPods and 3D navigation systems.
To deal with those problems, Wind River hopes to create a broad base of commonality among developers who are already familiar with Linux and Intel. Moreover, it hopes the open environment will be more appealing than proprietary platforms such as Windows.
“The sheer number of developers of Linux is much, much higher than Windows will ever be,” Tu said. “More and more of the kids coming out of school are versed in Linux.”
Tu added time-to-market should be accelerated by the use of an open platform because its documentation is well understood.
“There’s no bottleneck,” he said. “Education for open source is easily accessible. It’s as close as the click of a mouse.”