Since 2009 GENIVI has been driving the adoption of open source software for the connected car. The last 10 years have been incredibly successful for the GENIVI Alliance and the automotive open source community. Initially focused on Linux-based IVI and automotive open source software, GENIVI is expanding its scope to become the leading platform driving the efforts for the integration of the multiple operating systems that are present in the centralized and connected cockpit.

We wrote about ECU consolidation in the past, but which other trends are currently being discussed in the automotive industry? This is my perspective based on the discussions at the latest GENIVI All Member Meeting and Open Community Days.

From Operating Systems to Platforms – Embedded Android and multi-OS integration in the vehicle cockpit

Driven by the consumer demand for bringing their digital ecosystem into the car, and in hopes of a seamless user experience that will encourage people to keep their phones in their pockets when driving, automotive OEMs are turning to embedded Android. Native Android Automotive infotainment systems have already made their way to the dashboard of Volvo’s spin-off Polestar 2, and reportedly the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance and FCA will be next. According to Patrick Brady, the head of Android Auto, carmakers that are adopting Android as the built-in system in the car represent over 50 percent of annual car volumes. But the premise of an experience where all the devices around you are seamlessly integrated is not exempt of challenges, like having to deal with more frequent software updates, and with special regional requirements (for example in China). To ease the adoption and integration of embedded Android GENIVI launched the Android Automotive Special Interest Group, where OEMs, suppliers, and software developers can discuss how to work together with the Google Android Automotive team on the centralized car cockpit.

In addition to the Android Auto SIG, GENIVI also launched a multi-OS Integration Project. The focus areas of the project are cluster and IVI integration, partition lifecycle management, and hypervisor-OS standardization and specifications. These initiatives will help OEMs to integrate and manage Linux, AUTOSAR, Integrity, QNX and other in-vehicle operating systems into the central cockpit efficiently and at less cost.

The vehicle software architecture of the future is data oriented

The data explosion currently driven by ADAS systems, and in the future by fully autonomous vehicles, has just begun. We estimate that autonomous cars will generate more than 300 TB of data per year, but what are the use cases for that amount of data and where, how, and by whom is it going to be stored and managed? The concept of “extended vehicle”, in which third parties can access vehicle data as per ISO standards (20077-1 and 20078-1) puts a stop to the notion that a car is a thing to get from A to B. The sharing of data with third parties will enable new use cases and new revenue streams on the fields of insurance, fueling, parking, or car maintenance, just to name a few. For example, the telematics insurance market will grow to 2.2 billion USD by 2020, according to Statista. We will also start seeing more and more companies monetizing on services for when the car is on the road and targeting the automotive market. There is still a long way before we see a vehicle functioning in the cloud (on ideal conditions and with 5G technologies a car could only upload and download about 10% of its collected data), but regardless of where the data is stored and processed, in the cloud or at the edge, the automotive industry is working to simplify the handling of vehicle generated data. GENIVI has established several expert groups that work on defining standard interfaces (APIs) and is promoting the idea of a neutral server and Auto API, an open protocol that specifies car data and functions in an abstract format, removing the specifics of car model or brand.

Final thoughts

The amount of software in a car is sharply increasing, and the automotive industry is experiencing its major disruption since the introduction of the internal combustion engine. Consumers are in awe of the experiences provided by newcomers like Tesla, who are able to start from scratch and think of the car as a whole, without any legacy. But established automakers are far from staying still. Associations like GENIVI (of which Tuxera has been part since 2011) are of incredible help in supporting the adoption of standards for increasing the functionality in our vehicles. I believe in collaborative development and open source as a pillar for innovation; just one last question remains: if cars are the new smartphones, are automotive OEMs the new software houses?