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Linux will not be Adopted in Automotive

This is what some in industry would have you believe; I disagree  Thinking back to the 1990’s and 2000’s we heard the same thing about Linux as an OS for servers.  It’s clear from the use of Linux in servers today and the many consumer devices built on Linux that the OS and its ecosystem can meet very demanding business and technical needs, addressing and overcoming many of the shortcomings cited in the past.

Web Server Use of Linux

Data on Web Server OS Usage from

So why will Linux be successful in automotive? A few reasons include:

  1. Leading OEMs and Tier One suppliers already have Linux-based programs in use today, or they are in the processes of launching them
  2. OEMs and Tier One suppliers are seeing benefits and advantages from using Linux
  3. Industry initiatives and efforts are in place to make Linux widely accepted and successful

Let’s take a look at these three reasons in a little more detail.

Linux Adoption by Automotive OEMs and Tier One Suppliers

The best source of information is of course, the OEMs and Tier One suppliers themselves. Mentor commissioned a survey recently and it showed that 19 of the leading Automotive OEMs and Tier One suppliers have Linux products in production or are launching, while only 2 do not plan to.

Linux use by Automotive OEMs and Tier One Suppliers

2012 Survey of Automotive OEMs and Tier One Suppliers on Linux Based Programs

Benefits Realized from Adopting Linux

In the same survey 50% of companies indicated they realized the benefits they expected from adopting Linux. Also of note is the recognition that benefits will be realized through continued use of Linux in multiple projects.

Industry Initiatives for Linux in Automotive

There are two efforts that most people are probably already aware of. The first is the GENIVI Alliance which is comprised of over 160 automotive OEMS and suppliers from around the world. And the second is Automotive Grade Linux headed up by the Linux Foundation.Through these industry driven efforts, automotive Tier One suppliers and OEMs can use common Linux-based components from multiple vendors to provide baseline capability, and at the same time customize their automotive system using Linux and 3rd party packages and components.

This last area is where some of the greatest potential of Linux will come to play. Tier One suppliers and OEMs aren’t limited by any specific standard or distribution. They can take advantage of advances made to the Linux ecosystem for other industries and integrate those into Automotive solutions like the Linux based IVI solution from Mentor Embedded and other software providers.

What do you think? Share you comments on what you think are the key benefits of Linux in Automotive, and what do you think are the things holding Linux back.

GENIVI, Infotainment, IVI, Linux

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