News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Linux well-positioned in booming telematics market

Mar 19, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

In five years, 30 million cars or 44 percent of the global total will ship with telematics devices such as navigation computers, safety systems, and “infotainment” systems, a study claims. The ABI Research report also forecasts a vibrant outlook for after-market telematics devices, where Linux has seen some success.

Although the study does not appear to break down the market by operating system (OS) market share, embedded Linux appears to be well positioned in the telematics space. Ken Klein, CEO of Linux supplier Wind River, told investors earlier this month, “Linux is fast becoming the automotive infotainment market's solution of choice. We partnered with Intel on an automotive grade Linux solution, and we're on target to deliver in Q2. The first customer was BMW. Then we completed a deal with a Tier-1 European company, and we have a customer in Detroit as well.”

Wind River has also partnered with Freescale on telematics support, and won a contract to supply Linux development tools to the U.S. Department of Transportation's ambitious Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium (VII-C). Company CMO John Bruggeman recently explained that the merger of navigation and safety applications has helped Linux compete in telematics, since the open source OS was already popular in driver-assist technologies like automatic parking systems.

Rival Microsoft, meanwhile, has jumped into the market with Microsoft Auto, a vertical market spin of its Windows CE RTOS (real-time operating system). Microsoft's telematics wins include Ford Sync and Fiat Blue&Me. ABI Analyst Dominique Bonte commented, “Windows CE is one of the dominant platforms in the telematics device market. Even the Nokia 500 PND is based on Windows CE.”

Telematics products such as General Motors's OnStar and Ford's Sync will soon become standard features in U.S. cars, says the study. In Asia, meanwhile, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Hyundai have been offering telematics options since 2002.

Additionally, there's a vibrant market in portable and third-party infotainment devices emerging, says ABI. Bonte said, “I have come across a number of Linux implementations in this study. TomTom uses Linux [story], and Dash is going to launch a device based on OpenMoko [story].”

In a statement, Bonte said, “Consumer Telematics systems are becoming more popular due to the growing awareness of car manufacturers, telematics service providers, governments, and drivers about the benefits of positioning and communications technologies in cars for improved safety, security, efficiency, convenience, infotainment, cost savings, and reduced environmental impact.”

The following forces are driving the automotive telematics market, says ABI:

  • Positioning technology maturesGPS technology is improving and available at lower prices, says ABI, and flat-fee data communication tariffs are encouraging greater use. Meanwhile, the widespread use of portable navigation devices is educating consumers about the technology.
  • Safety and emergency response efforts emerge — In Europe, the eCall/eSafety project is attempting to make automatic emergency calls mandatory in all new cars starting in 2011. In the U.S., there's the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium (VII-C) program mentioned earlier.
  • Infotainment systems grow in popularity — To differentiate their products, says ABI, automobile manufacturers are interested in moving beyond navigation services to provide infotainment enhancements that include real-time location-based content such as traffic, fuel prices, parking availability, and tourist information.
  • New applications appear — ABI predicts that new applications for stolen vehicle tracking and insurance applications will experience strong growth. New portable and handset-based solutions are arriving, says the research group, featuring teenage driver tracking and speed monitoring.


The ABI report, “Consumer Telematics Forecasts,” is available here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.