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Open source auto infotainment group forms

Mar 3, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Several car manufacturers and suppliers have launched an alliance for open source collaboration on In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems. The new Genivi Alliance is developing an IVI reference design and middleware based on an Intel Atom platform running Wind River Linux, says the… group.

The founding members of the Genivi Alliance are BMW Group, Delphi, General Motors, Intel, Magneti Marelli, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Visteon, and Wind River, The alliance is open to further membership from other automotive, consumer electronics, communications, and application development companies, says Genivi.

Based in San Ramon, Calif., the alliance has been working for 18 months on the Linux infotainment reference design, a “tested and proven automotive prototype” due to ship this summer, says the group. The reference implementation will be made available as open source code, presumably after it begins rolling out in new automobiles and automotive devices.

The design is based on the Wind River Linux Platform for Infotainment, a technology announced last May that builds in part on the Intel-sponsored Moblin Linux stack. The Genivi Alliance did not say which Intel Atom versions are being used, but they are likely the “P” and “PT” Atom models that Intel announced yesterday. These larger-format Atom parts are designed for the automotive and transportation industries.

According to the alliance, auto manufacturers and suppliers struggle to develop, test, deploy, and support IVI products and services across multiple car models and generations. To solve this problem, Genivi envisions a common software architecture for IVI systems that is “scalable across product lines and generations,” and that will avoid duplication of development processes. The alliance further aims to reduce time-to-market and total cost of ownership for IVI systems and bring them “closer to the lifecycle of consumer devices” to enable new business models and connected services.

Conceptual diagram of Genivi IVI platform
(Click to enlarge)

The Genivi platform will consist of standardized open source middleware, application layer interfaces, and frameworks, says the alliance (see the diagram above). The platform is said to encompass automotive infotainment products and services that support music, news, Internet, multimedia, navigation, location, and telephony capabilities. To encourage differentiation, however, the platform does not currently address “highly competitive areas such as user interfaces and logic that defines the end-user experience,” says the group.

The Genivi Alliance will sponsor technical, marketing, and compliance programs for the platform, as well as align automotive OEM requirements, says the alliance.

An open source fix to automotive's infotainment problem

According to a recent study by ABI Research, the automotive industry is struggling to shorten its design and replacement cycles for telematics, navigation, and infotainment devices, in order to compete with third-party consumer electronics and wireless products. The only solution, the research firm suggests, is to support open source technologies and common reference platforms.

Other recent automotive open source projects linked to the Intel Atom include Open Synergy's COQOS, a Linux-based “car operating system” available on an Atom-based evaluation board for automobile infotainment systems. The COQOS platform aims to let Linux-based infotainment applications and industry-standard AUTOSAR telematics modules share the same system-on-chip processor, which is virtualized by a “micro operating system” (μOS) layer.

Additionally, Microsoft Auto today unveiled a new version of its infotainment stack, with added support for Z5xx-series Atom processors.

Stated Graham Smethurst, Genivi spokesperson and BMW Group GM, Infotainment and Communication Systems, “Collaborating on a common reference platform in non-differentiating areas of the architecture will allow GENIVI members to focus on the development and integration of innovative customer functionality.”

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


The Genivi Alliance's infotainment prototype reference design based on an Intel Atom platform running Wind River Linux is due to ship this summer, says the group. Genivi spokesperson Smethurst will deliver a keynote at the CeBIT conference on March 5 on Genivi, followed by a panel discussion, from 2-3:30PM in the Open Source Forum, hall 6, room E50.

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