The major roadblock to the rapid adoption of technology in cars has always been vehicles’ long production cycles. But automakers are also guilty of hampering wide-scale innovation with their proprietary approach to infotainment systems and software, while dragging their feet on a collaborative, open source solution that would benefit consumers and car tech overall. That’s slowly starting to change, as automakers like Ford, GM, and BMW gradually open their APIs to outside developers. With the announcement of a new Automotive Grade Linux Workgroup (AGL), the free and open source software movement hopes to gain enough leverage to successfully topple traditional automotive infotainment silos.
The Linux Foundation said in a statement that it formed AGL to “facilitate widespread industry collaboration that advances automotive device development, providing a community reference platform that companies can use for creating products.” Two of the world’s largest automakers – Nissan and Toyota – are on board, along with Jaguar Land Rover and major “tier-one” automotive suppliers such as Denso, Fujitsu, Harman, Intel, and NVIDIA. AGL’s stated goal is “to meet consumer expectations for the same connectivity in cars as what is today the norm in homes and offices.” In other words, consumers are tired of new cars being technically antiquated, and the group’s solution is to create systems that are more flexible and scalable.