New consortium focuses on infotainment software

  • 17-Mar-2009 11:06 EDT
Linux may become the base for infotainment systems from Delphi and other GENIVI consortium members.

Efforts to unify software interfaces and reduce costs continue to gain steam. The latest effort focuses on infotainment, using open-source software techniques supported by a number of major vendors.

The GENIVI Alliance was formed to develop an open-source in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) reference platform. Major automotive, consumer electronics, communications, and application development companies hope to reduce time to market and total cost of ownership.

Founding members are BMW Group, Delphi, General Motors, Intel, Magneti Marelli, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Visteon, and Wind River. They are collaborating to create a common software architecture that is scalable across product lines and generations.

That could shorten automotive develo­pment cycles, bringing them closer to the life cycle of consumer devices. A related goal is to accelerate the implementation of telematics and connected services.

If the alliance effort proves successful, it will make open-source software a critical factor in head-unit designs. Those head units need to interact with a mix of rapidly changing consumer products such as MP3 players. They must also handle telematics connections that are likely to change continuously over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Consortium members feel that Linux is a solid software base for their adaptable software. That could mark a turning point for the open-source operating system, which has gotten much interest from the auto industry but so far seen little in production.

The GENIVI reference design consists of Linux-based core services, middleware, and open application layer interfaces. This platform provides a base for automakers and suppliers to add differentiated products and services that include music, news, Internet and multimedia, interactive navigation, and telephony.

“Having a common reference platform will be critical for the greater auto ecosystem in developing innovative and sophisticated in-car entertainment applications,” said Hans-Georg Frischkorn, Executive Director of Global Electrical Systems, Controls, and Software at GM.

The first technical deliverable, a prototype that uses Intel’s Atom processor and Wind River Linux, will be out this summer. This reference implementation will be made available as open-source code.

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