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Transportation Open Source Linux

Auto Makers To Standardize On Open Source 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-sure-drivers-can't-play-video-games dept.
Lucas123 writes "There are efforts underway within the auto industry to create a standard, Linux-based platform for In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems so that cars will act more like smartphones instead of having only about 10% of that functionality today. For example, Tesla's Model S IVI system, which is based on Linux, is designed to allow drivers to navigate using Google Maps with live traffic information, listen to streaming music from any online radio station and have access to an Internet browser for news or restaurant reviews. Having an industry-wide open-source IVI operating system would create a reusable platform consisting of core services, middleware and open application layer interfaces that eliminate the redundant efforts to create separate proprietary systems by automakers and their tier 1 suppliers like Microsoft. By developing an open-source platform, carmakers can share upgrades as they arrive."
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Auto Makers To Standardize On Open Source

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  • No, bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:06PM (#45083517)

    Just make the damn thing take in bluetooth and HDMI. The car infotainment should have no brains. Just let it run off of a normal device the user already owns.

    • Re:No, bad idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by capnkid (87180) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:10PM (#45083563) Homepage

      What about receiving engine info, warnings regarding brake pads, fuel consumption, etc, etc? An established protocol that could link this to a mobile device would make sense. Not sure why this wasn't done with bluetooth ages ago...

      • Re:No, bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:16PM (#45083625)

        Co-mingling entertainment and car controls seems like a bad idea to me. I think I'd want anything that controls the car to be linked to only a pedal or button of some kind.

        • by afidel (530433)

          Exactly, have the infotainment crap use Blutooth AVRCP and one of the display protocols and leave the CAN bus stuff to a simple PIC controller and a little screen in the instrument cluster that's not going to get hacked.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ArcadeMan (2766669)

            If you don't want to be hacked than you better use an Atmel instead of a Microchip.

            Just trolling, no real reason other than I hate PIC and its mess of banks when coding in assembler, AVR is much cleaner.

        • by CaptSlaq (1491233)

          Co-mingling entertainment and car controls seems like a bad idea to me. I think I'd want anything that controls the car to be linked to only a pedal or button of some kind.

          There is a HUGE gulf between "monitoring" and "control". Monitoring could very safely be put into an infotainment system, assuming that read-only of all the inputs can be set in a sane fashion. I'm unclear if CAN has this ability, OBD2 does not.

          • by mea_culpa (145339)

            CAN is based on Modbus, Modbus is a lot like ethernet. There is no security at the bus level, much like connecting a laptop into an office LAN.

            There needs to be an intermediary device, CAN on one end, a firewall in the middle, and a very limited and hardened interface for the infotainment system.

            Thus far automakers have been keen on connecting infotainment systems directly to the bus.

        • Co-mingling entertainment and car controls seems like a bad idea to me.

          You're definitely not a fan of joyrides, then. ;-)

        • Co-mingling entertainment and car controls seems like a bad idea to me. I think I'd want anything that controls the car to be linked to only a pedal or button of some kind.

          If the diagnostic computer can be queried, but kept separate from the Entertainment computer, it would be great. That check-engine light costs me a mechanic's fee just to tell me that the car needs a filter change.

          The Nissan vehicle has a small cellphone sized panel that informs you about low tire pressure, about oil changes, and many other safety features.

          Of course, for future cars, should the backup video cameras or the sidewalk cameras and rear-view - forward view camera, not be connected to the enterta

      • Re:No, bad idea (Score:5, Informative)

        by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:17PM (#45083631)

        Technically while I don't think one should have to rely on a phone for this (see my comment on this thread), such adapters already exist. Virtually all modern cars have an ODB II port for which you can buy a bluetooth device that'll transmit to a phone app (the one that I use is called Torque).

        They're literally less than $15:
        http://www.amazon.com/Newest-Bluetooth-Diagnostic-Scanner-Adapter/dp/B009F4JHHO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381342473&sr=8-1&keywords=bluetooth+auto+diagnostic [amazon.com]

        Most people just don't seem to care that much to check, but I was able to use mine to effectively diagnose a misfiring issue I had with my car as a bad spark plug. Saved a lot of money versus taking it to a mechanic.

        • Re:No, bad idea (Score:5, Informative)

          by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:23PM (#45084299) Homepage
          ODB = Ol' Dirty Bastard [wikipedia.org]
          OBD = On-Board Diagnostics [wikipedia.org]
          • by bdwebb (985489)
            I have this problem constantly when referring to the OBD port. I can't seem to stop calling it ODB and I hum "I'm the ODB as you can see. Every eye, don't you be watchin' me"...every single time.
        • The OBD2 standard has very limited scope. It only defines commands for engine diagnostics with a strong focus on emissions equipment. For instance there isn't even a standard command to read the battery voltage. Manufacturers can supplement the standard commands with their own proprietary ones but then there is the problem of supporting different manufacturers and loss of guaranteed forward compatibility. Also, even with modern CAN equipped vehicles, the data rates are limited to 1Mb/s max (Need 1.4Mb/s for

      • We have that; it's called ODB2.

      • by Machupo (59568)

        Torque does most of this -- pretty straightforward to attach an ODBII / bluetooth connection.

        I would just like a pogo port connection on the "infotainment area" of the dash so I could nestle a Nexus 10 down when I'm driving and then pull it when I hop out.

      • by rolfwind (528248)

        Why does this have to be on anything but the driver display? At worst, puke it out onto a SD card.

      • What about receiving engine info, warnings regarding brake pads, fuel consumption, etc, etc? An established protocol that could link this to a mobile device would make sense. Not sure why this wasn't done with bluetooth ages ago...

        You'd want to make sure you control as much ad content and revenue as possible. You don't want all that money going to apple and google. "SLAM ON UR FUCKING BRAKES. NOW. That dealer on your left is having a tire special", as dashboard lights go crazy.

      • Just a thought, but is there a mas production car that one can electronically signal the car to turn, switch gears, and brake?
        • by kimvette (919543)

          Many automatics (and I am including DCTs in this category) are now fully computerized, so yes, they are shift by wire.

          More and more cars are also throttle by wire as well. The gas/accelerator pedal is being relegated to a "more power request" than the throttle body butterfly valve control lever it used to be.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        What about receiving engine info, warnings regarding brake pads, fuel consumption, etc, etc? An established protocol that could link this to a mobile device would make sense. Not sure why this wasn't done with bluetooth ages ago...

        You mean like CANBUS and ODBII?

    • Re:No, bad idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:12PM (#45083585)

      I don't know about you but I've grown tired of effectively connecting a dongle to my car in order to do things like GPS navigation. The main problem as to why phones are better than the built-in stuff is because its updated when the built-in stuff stagnates.

      Processing power is cheap - dirt cheap (a Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone Black, etc is less than $50 and contains more brains than most in-dash systems need). In today's age when so little data is actually stored locally on the devices anyways it makes far more sense to build an open system that can access the same profiles (ie, synced data from things like Google accounts) than to force users into connecting their phone to their car.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        If not connectivity through a phone, then connectivity through a replacable module. Decoupling the input and output make this easy and easily upgradable. It also lets people pick their own services. I like using Google services myself, but someone else may not. There may be a new high speed comminications technology out in the near future. Decoupling aall of these thimgs makes it much more upgradable, and if they use open connectors/protocols, then you can use your phone to replace or supplement this functi

        • If not connectivity through a phone, then connectivity through a replacable module. Decoupling the input and output make this easy and easily upgradable. It also lets people pick their own services. I like using Google services myself, but someone else may not. There may be a new high speed comminications technology out in the near future. Decoupling aall of these thimgs makes it much more upgradable, and if they use open connectors/protocols, then you can use your phone to replace or supplement this functionality as well.

          Like poor old ISO 7736, which doesn't seem to have been doing all that well in recent models, alas?

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Pairing the phone one time is too hard?

        • Pairing the phone one time is too hard?

          I change the ROM on my phone almost weekly, and have to pair it again every time.

          But no, not hard at all. Not even time consuming, really.

      • by afidel (530433)

        In a day and age when so little is stored locally do you really want to have a data connection from 10 years ago? Because the minimum you should be designing a cars systems for is 10 years and there is NO way a builtin computer will age well over that time, so use the device everyone already owns and already has a dataplan for.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          Really only relevant for this very brief period where things are taking off and rapidly advancing in mobile data. Once things stabilize it won't really be an issue.

          If you take a data connection on the PC for example (a more mature platform), then 10 years ago we were just adopting 802.11g for wireless and for wired gigabit ethernet had been around for a few years. Neither is the fastest available anymore, but nor are they particularly a problem even today either. Cellular is starting to hit that "good en

          • by afidel (530433)

            Lol, Sprint has gone from 3G to 4G WiMax to 4G LTE on 1900MHz and will be adding 4G LTE on 800MHz soon, that's in just over 5 years, building mobile data into a car is dumb, period. Plus I don't want to have a dataplan just for my car, what a waste and unnecessary expense.

            • by kimvette (919543)

              Correction: It's dumb to make a proprietary mobile data transceiver for a car. Witness an entire generation of ONSTAR-equipped vehicles from just a few years ago that are now completely nonfunctional now that the analog cell network is decommissioned.

              My next car will have a mobile data connection - I want the live traffic updates integrated with GPS without having to jury-rig a cellphone on the dash or have it lying loose in the car. Instead, I'll use the iDrive joystick to operate the GPS. The one thing I

        • by cusco (717999)

          Speak for yourself, the only reason that I ever carry a cell phone is because my employer makes me. Maybe I don't qualify to be a member of the set of 'Everyone'.

      • by Minwee (522556)

        I don't know about you but I've grown tired of effectively connecting a dongle to my car in order to do things like GPS navigation.

        That's okay. There a new product [duckbrand.com] that can convert your dongle to a fashionable, integrated part of the dashboard.

    • by gmuslera (3436)

      Cars will have a brain (the "brains" that they have inside causes too much deaths when i.e. drunk, distracted, etc), you can't avoid that, and markets will push a lot in that direction.

      Now, want that the same people that made stuxnet to sabotage nuclear plants be able to put backdoors in cars? What you can try to avoid is that that brain can be controlled by others, and open source is a good starting approach.

    • ....to an in-dash touch display.

      What's frustrating is how close they already are to being able to do this yet how little interest either side (handset or auto makers) seems to have in actually doing it.

      The car would need a touch display, a network->video device that handled the display-side mirroring and wireless network connectivity.

      The handset side would need display mirroring and remote touch capability. iPhone already has display mirroring but not remote touch capability.

      It would be nice if the disp

    • Huh? No, I disagree.

      I'm fine with the car supporting technologies like bluetooth or offering HDMI connectivity to an external screen. But I don't want it to "just run off a normal device the user already owns". (I'd assume this implies a smartphone for most situations.)

      I'd prefer the device in my car to be completely self-sustaining. If I happen to not bring my phone with me for whatever reason, I don't want the whole in-car infotainment/navigation system to be rendered useless! By the same token, I'd ra

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Just make the damn thing take in bluetooth and HDMI. The car infotainment should have no brains. Just let it run off of a normal device the user already owns."

      That's what the users want, the Government OTOH thinks since it has a GPS and a map with the allowed speeds, it can prevent people from speeding or better still, just snitch to the authorities so that they can bill the fines directly to your phone account.
      Also the NSA will already need about half the disk space.

      But on the bright side, you'll never ha

  • by DaHat (247651) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:09PM (#45083543) Homepage

    Just like your phone, a vehicles IVI can be updated months or years after the car drives off the line... but how likely is that?

    We've come to expect a ~2 year update cycle with phones... and many a manufacturer will simply stop issuing updates well before that time as an insentive to upgrade to the latest & greatest.

    Cars have a much longer lifetime on the road, do we really think that the currently shipping Model XYZ from AutoCo with all of the bells and whistles is going to get the latest IVI update in 3, 5 or 10 years?

    "Sorry, but you need an IVI 3.2 based system for that upgrade" will be the excuse.

    Yes... even with OSS "you can just upgrade it yourself!"... which assumes the average user has the knowhow, skill & a vehicle that is so easily upgraded.

    • See, when it comes to cars, anything new and exciting is a selling point for the new models. So while the makers of these IVI products could share updates, the car manufactures are going to be advertising the latest version or spiffy new features incorporated only in this new model, and try hard to keep other makers' models from having that upgrade.

    • Just like your phone, a vehicles IVI can be updated months or years after the car drives off the line... but how likely is that?

      I bought a new Ford last week and as soon as I hooked it up was informed of an available upgrade. Looking at the version history it was less than three months between this one and the last one.

    • Yes... even with OSS "you can just upgrade it yourself!"... which assumes the average user has the knowhow, skill & a vehicle that is so easily upgraded.

      And I shall make a not particularly unlikely prediction that behind this open source platform will be closed source driver libraries, just like there are for Android. Therefore you can't necessarily "just upgrade it yourself".

      What we as consumers want and what auto makers want are two different things. We want to upgrade the car we have because ther

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How many bugging devices do we need???

  • by Dusty (10872) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:11PM (#45083573) Homepage
    XKCD Standards [xkcd.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why not just use Android?

  • Show of hands ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:12PM (#45083591) Homepage

    OK, show of hands, how many of us want our cars to behave like smartphones?

    Now, the second show of hands, how many of us think this is probably not what you want in the dash of your car?

    Driving your car is not the place to be reading restaurant reviews, and once some moron can text from his dash, we'll get the same problem we have with people with their phones now. Hell, from what I can tell if you put most people in a car with the radio off, they still wouldn't be able to safely operate the car.

    I don't imagine it would be long before places started outlawing using the screen in your car for some of this stuff while you're driving.

    Me, I think most forms of 'infotainment' in a car is a potentially fatal combination. I see enough drivers that can't actually stay within their lane now, let alone while trying to catch up on Breaking Bad while in their car. The last thing most drivers need is even more shiny things to distract them while driving.

    • OK, show of hands, how many of us want our cars to behave like smartphones?

      Now, the second show of hands, how many of us think this is probably not what you want in the dash of your car?

      Mine already behaves like a smartphone. The Uconnect system in my 2014 Jeep is upgradeable, has an 8.4" touchscreen, configures all of the car settings (i.e. whether to lock the doors when the car starts moving), can be remote started via an app on my mobile device, and supports the downloads of additional apps, has built-in 3g/4g, can act as a WiFi hot spot, etc.....Oh, and it reads text messages back to me and can use the voice recognition to send texts, so no typing.

      Interestingly enough, I haven't cause

      • Interestingly enough, I haven't caused any accidents yet. Go figure....

        Like to dance with the devil, do we?

        Key operatives in your statement: "I" and "yet."

        Isn't your rant the same thing that they said about radios, GPS devices, etc.... You forget that people eventually adapt and learn how to use new technology safely.

        Not according to the NHTSA, [wikipedia.org] who I'm more inclined to believe than some random Slashdotter.

        From the article:

        The NHTSA states that 80% of accidents and 16% of highway deaths are the result of distracted drivers

        You forget that most people are selfish, irresponsible jerks with their heads nested firmly in their rectums.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by David_Hart (1184661)

          Interestingly enough, I haven't caused any accidents yet. Go figure....

          Like to dance with the devil, do we?

          Key operatives in your statement: "I" and "yet."

          Nope, I'm just a good enough driver to keep my eye on the road at all times and use technology to my advantage instead of letting it distract me.

          Isn't your rant the same thing that they said about radios, GPS devices, etc.... You forget that people eventually adapt and learn how to use new technology safely.

          Not according to the NHTSA, [wikipedia.org] who I'm more inclined to believe than some random Slashdotter.

          From the article:

          The NHTSA states that 80% of accidents and 16% of highway deaths are the result of distracted drivers

          Did you miss the point in the Wiki that distracted driving can be anything from drinking, eating, checking on your kid in the rear view mirror, watching that cute girl on the side of the road, etc... (see the article you linked to). Are we now going to mandate that people can no longer drive their kids around, eat, drink, etc.? Not likely!!

          If someone is a bad dri

          • Interestingly enough, I haven't caused any accidents yet. Go figure....

            Like to dance with the devil, do we?

            Key operatives in your statement: "I" and "yet."

            Nope, I'm just a good enough driver to keep my eye on the road at all times and use technology to my advantage instead of letting it distract me.

            Well, that's good (albeit making statements like that, you'd be wise to find some wood to knock on), but in my experience that makes you an exception to the rule.

            Isn't your rant the same thing that they said about radios, GPS devices, etc.... You forget that people eventually adapt and learn how to use new technology safely.

            Not according to the NHTSA, [wikipedia.org] who I'm more inclined to believe than some random Slashdotter.

            From the article:

            The NHTSA states that 80% of accidents and 16% of highway deaths are the result of distracted drivers

            Did you miss the point in the Wiki that distracted driving can be anything from drinking, eating, checking on your kid in the rear view mirror, watching that cute girl on the side of the road, etc... (see the article you linked to).

            Nope; did you miss the rest of the paragraph, after the part I quoted?

            The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 1.6 million (25%) of crashes annually are due to cell phone use, and another 1 million (18%) traffic accidents are due to texting while driving. These numbers equate to one accident every 24 seconds attributed to distracted driving by cell phone use. The NSC also reported that speaking on a cell phone while driving reduces focus on the road and the act of driving by 37%, irrespective of hands-free cell phone operation.

            If someone is a bad driver, they are going to be a bad driver no matter what they have in the car to distract them.

            Not untrue.

            The point of technology is to provide solutions that reduces this distraction to a minimum level.

            Not true - the point is to sell people cars. GM, Ford, et. al. could give a shit less what you do with it, so long as you give them money.

            That aside, any technology in an automobile that is not directly related to driving inherently increases distraction, by mere virtu

    • I'm a T-Rex.
    • It's not the car that will behave like a smartphone, just the radio. Which is normally a useless waste of space that blares advertising, so no loss there.
    • Driving your car is not the place to be reading restaurant reviews

      I travel for work a lot and like to find good food in unfamiliar places. My car is exactly where I want restaurant reviews.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      OK, show of hands, how many of us want our cars to behave like smartphones?

      I asked this question outside of /. and sadly, all I saw were hands.

      Most people treat driving as a chore and couldn't care less about being safe or courteous drivers. They do want Facebook integration and twitter clients in their cars so they dont have to think about what they're doing on the road. Hell, half of Slashdot dont give a crap about their driving and will complain as viciously as it is ineffectual when these things get banned because people are too busy updating their Facebook status with "FBi

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:14PM (#45083611) Homepage

    As the the automaker CEO listened to his kids cry about their phone being almost unusable after a software upgrade, he realized the true genius of Steve Jobs.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:21PM (#45083671)

    "a reusable platform consisting of core services, middleware and open application layer interfaces"

    Sounds like comp sci wankery. Once marketing, legal and design people get involved it will all be so customized, hacked and extended that none of those concepts will remain true.

  • l'll get excited about an open source ECU, I'd rather drivers not be entertained at all

    • l'll get excited about an open source ECU, I'd rather drivers not be entertained at all

      This.

      I'd much rather be able to set up my own air/fuel ratio curves and transmission shift points than have Google integrated into my dash.

    • I present to you- MegaSquirt! [wikipedia.org]
      It isn't completely OS, the source code is available but it has some patents on it. It's the closest thing we have right now that I'm aware of. It is also, to my knowledge, the most popular hobby hacker ECU.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know how to drive. All I need is a temperature and oil pressure gauge, keep it simple stupid!

  • Can I replace the abomination that is Microsoft Sync in my Ford? I have tried to enable the "read text message" option with several brands of Android phones, with no success. Ford's suggestion? Reset to factory settings, which does dick-all.

  • This is inevitable. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dtjohnson (102237) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:36PM (#45083835)
    Microsoft still licenses their software like it's 1982 and they are the toll collector on progress. You buy a copy of their newest [whatever] program and pay them the fee that they set. They never look at what they provide and ask themselves 'are we providing value equivalent to what we are collecting in tolls?' Auto companies, in contrast, have to do that with absolutely every thing that they provide since cars are very complex performance-driven devices that are competitively mass-produced and consequently sell for little money relative to their high cost of manufacture. Moreover, cars must be both reliable and supported/maintained for 20 years after they are sold. All of these are foreign concepts to Microsoft which can't see any reason why they should not just release V x.x of their 'car OS' and sell it to manufacturers who would eagerly link everything to it. The manufacturer's, though, need to have control over the source code for critical updates, control over the licensing and distribution, and control over the overall structure and software design. Manufacturer's have been putting software in cars for over 20 years and they could never settle for Microsoft's way of doing things...so turning to OSS is inevitable for them.
    • by Meeni (1815694)

      They did use other contractors with closed source solutions (like SCO, Bosh, SAP, etc). Using OSS is new.

      Why not just Android by the way?

  • witness the smartphone makers and Android. can you upgrade your year-old phone to Moldy Pickle, or whatever the latest version is?

    hell, no.

  • I just want an easy way to check the engine diagnostics codes. It's retarded to still require thousand-dollar connector and software for something so basic. Put *that* feature in a car, and I'd seriously consider buying one new for the first time ever.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:14PM (#45084209)

    I got a ford recently and holy shit does Microsoft Sync blow chunks. It had bluetooth but only in mono?!?! The phone quality was terrible and worst of all the entire damned thing was integrated into every electronic system in the car so when I wanted to rip the junk out and put in a decent head unit (cd player) I had to spend $130 on a small computer to translate everything and keep all my dash lights and steering wheel controls working. The only headunits compatible with MS Sync are $600 kenwood Nav systems.

  • If you've heard/seen about Tizen at all lately, I know this is one of the big things going for it. Makes sense for car makers to not have to reinvent the wheel: https://wiki.tizen.org/wiki/IVI [tizen.org]

  • Forget the infotainment/bugging crap - we have that already and it's called a smartphone. What we need is Open Source and Open Standard systems for controlling the car and - new kid on the block - battery management.

    Real hardware and software already exist in projects like Tumanako [sourceforge.net] which even have the foresight to integrate with distributed power generation systems. But no, big auto manufacturers still focusing on bling that will date faster than a Miley Cyrus video.

  • By developing an open-source platform, carmakers can share upgrades as they arrive.

    By not developing an open-source platform, carmakers can make you upgrade your car to get a software upgrade. Because that's the business they're in.

  • I can't wait till the IT department can enforce password changes very 6 months on users cars because the IVI can access corporate data. It'll be sweet!
  • So what, Linux has the market share in Servers, Supercomputers, cell phones, and now IVI.

    I think the only market left that Linux DOESN'T controll is desktop, and that market is shrinking. I think its plain obvious to anyone at this point, Linux is and will continue to be the dominant OS on planet earth for the next 50 years.

    The only place its not dominant is niche platforms, like embedded(strong though), mainframes(dying), and realtime operations.

    But when you factor in Free software, that jumps considerably

  • "You get a security hole! And you get a security hole! And you get a security hole!"

    just like on Oprah. but not.

    • Interesting. In my garage are machines that will never connect to standard networking hardware. I call this my "security hole", where I can actually compute securely.

  • by stiggle (649614)

    The original Linux car infotainment system. Only 13 years old now.

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