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04 March 2009, 10:57

Car Makers collaborate on Linux for cars

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A new industry alliance, Genivi, has been launched and aims to bring open source to "In-Vehicle Infotainment". Genivi, a non-profit organisation, has been founded by car makers BMW, General Motors and Peugeot Citroën, component makers Delphi, Magneti Marelli and Visteon, CPU maker Intel and embedded systems developer Wind River. It plans to work on a Linux based, open source reference platform that can be incorporated into vehicles. Hans-Georg Frischkorn from GM said “Having a common reference platform will be critical for the greater auto ecosystem in developing innovative and sophisticated in-car entertainment applications”, he also pointed out the benefits of sharing development costs and a shorter time to market.

The alliance will be formally launched at CeBIT 2009 on Thursday. According to Genivi, development of the platform is "well underway"; over the past 18 months a prototype system based on Intel's Atom processor and Wind River Linux has been developed and the first "deliverable", based on the prototype is expected to be available in the summer. Membership of the Genivi alliance starts at $5,000 a year, rising to $100,000 for eligibility for election to the board and alliance decision approval.

Microsoft, according to one report, is somewhat cool on the alliance, complaining that it had not been invited to join. Microsoft Automotive's Velle Kolde said "If (Genivi is) picking and choosing technology partners, it isn't really an open architecture". The lack of an invitation may have more to do with Microsoft suing Tom Tom for patent infringement; one of the patents, 6,175,789, concerns a "Vehicle computer system with open platform architecture".


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