Today, infotainment systems can only do 10 percent of what a mobile phone can perform, said Rudi Steif who leads an effort to bring Linux to cars by the Linux Foundation.
And here’s another fact: an infotainment system uses more than 40 million lines of code requiring car makers to employ many software engineers, which is proving a major expense, reports Computerworld.
For the reasons above, some car makers are starting to turn to open source Linux as the basis of their car radios, which would encourage third party developers to write apps for car radios.
An open source platform would spur innovation in car radios, added Steif.
To date three car makers offer Linux-based systems on some models including the Cadillac Cue and Tesla Model S all-electric cars. Ford has developed an open source version of its AppLink for MyFord touch.
Several others car makers have announced plans for open source radios. Toyota is planning a Linux radio in the 2014 Lexus IS and BMW announced plans for future use of open source software.
Until recently, car makers use proprietary radio platforms to differentiate themselves from the competition. But car makers might still use Linux and then differentiate themselves in their user interfaces, said Steif.
A group trying to promote open Linux systems in cars, called the GENIVI alliance with more than 180 members, recently met in San Diego to help get its platform adopted.