Wired Op/Ed: When Automakers Become Software Makers

jzemlin's picture

Wired just published an op/ed we wrote about the role Linux and collaborative development are playing in the automotive industry. This role is becoming so important that we recently announced the formation of the Automotive Grade Linux workgroup here at The Linux Foundation. It includes participation by the world's largest car maker Toyota, as well as HARMAN, Intel, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Samsung, and more.

Here is an excerpt from the article and link to the original post on Wired.com.

I think the fact that Toyota is now going outside its ecosystem by joining with competitors is a significant move toward openness. We know they already collaborate with a complex network of suppliers in one of the most sophisticated just-in-time production systems in the world: the Toyota Production System (which, by the way, inspired lean startups). I’d argue that examples like this show that the automotive industry does know how to standardize and collaborate. The question, of course, is how the automakers will balance their need to collaborate with their desire to provide a branded infotainment experience to consumers.

The telecommunications industry, a traditionally (and many would argue still) closed industry took a similar workgroup approach in the early 2000s, eventually displacing the proprietary systems of old: Linux is now the dominant operating system in the telco market. This industry, much like the automotive industry, requires 99.9999 percent reliability in real-time software. It’s not like you need to be closed to get great performance, no matter what Steve Jobs would say. (And when pondering WWSJD when it comes to being open, please don’t keep saying Apple’s the exception: There’s a lot more open source there than you realize.)

I invite you to read the whole article on Wired.com.