Leveraging Open Source Software With Automotive Technology: Things to Consider

In the last couple of years, open-source software marked a solid increase in usage. Today’s companies are becoming more software-driven. Open source is now a staple to drive innovation faster and more reliably. In fast-changing business environments that are an absolute must.

Open source has gained massive popularity in the automotive space as well. Manufacturers race to keep up with the increasing demands from consumers and open source software (OSS) significantly reduces development time and minimize costly investments, which gives them a huge advantage. However, it took quite a long time for the automotive industry to harness these benefits.

That’s probably because OSS can be used, seen or tweaked by anyone. A decade ago it was barley used for software development. This has changed drastically in the past five years, particularly in automotive, due to the availability of extremely high-quality OSS.

Over time, there will be an even bigger increase in adoption of Open Source Software elements by software system integrators and automotive software distributors as part of production solutions.

One of the main reasons for that are some OSS elements that have been developed with the rigor required to support functional safety use cases. These elements offer functional safety solutions in the area of safety separation for virtual ECUs and Real-Time OSes that support real-time ECU workloads.

Open source will be at the core of the auto industry transformation and will drive innovation faster. It’s expected to see giants like Ford and BMW, as well as other manufacturers to start their own open-source initiatives.

Main Benefits of Open Source 

These are the main reasons to embrace open-source software:

Reduces Costs 

The biggest open source projects have thousands of developers looking over the same code base. This, of course, leads to more stable codebases through a wide range of testing and implementation. Furthermore, special groups of these developers focus on security implications. Which make the projects way more secure.

This huge network of developers contributing to one project highly improves its quality over time. All this provides companies with a secure and reliable end-product.

Open source projects reduce long-term costs by driving up customer satisfaction and significantly lowering maintenance ones.

Companies Can Focus on Core Differentiations 

Another very important reason to embrace open source is the ability to shift focus on other essential aspects of the core business. If you try to do it all at once, your company is most likely to suffer from complexity it doesn’t need.

Leveraging open-source software allows companies to put the effort behind the core differentiators of their product. The time and resources that it saves, as noted above, could be applied to the core business instead, for achieving further improvement and competitive advantage.

Multiplies Software Developer Output 

Finding good developers is a tricky task for many corporations. If you manage to get the right ones, they’ll be way more efficient than an average developer. Now multiply that to the number of developers that work on open source projects.

Some high-level software development communities collaborate through millions of open source projects. As a result, companies could get the best result and innovation implemented more efficiently when leveraging open source projects.

A small team of developers is able to gain the insight and experience of thousands of others when working on open source projects. This gives a multiplied return on developer output.

Examples Of Open Source Parts in Modern Vehicles 

Now that you know the benefits of open source software, to more specific, we’ll give you a few examples on parts of vehicles that use it.

Infotainment Systems 

Every time you use media, navigation or mobile phone support in your vehicle, you’re probably interfacing with features built on top of open-source software.

Back in 2019 BMW, GM, Delphi, and Intel founded an open-source framework for in-vehicle infotainment, called GENIVI. Its goal was to drive innovation and reduce time-to-market and total cost of ownership.

The platform gave automotive manufacturers more impact and leverage over the features available in an in-car experience. Such a project reduces costs while enabling richer experience for automotive companies, allowing them to focus on what differentiates their in-car experience.

The Actual Driving Systems 

Airbags, anti-lock brakes, cruise control and even the engine in modern vehicles are all connected via a system called CAN bus. That’s the protocol that powers the backbone network in a vehicle.

Furthermore, innovative systems can be built on top of the CAN bus to enable entirely new applications, like the revolutionary self-driving cars for instance. A great example from the automotive world is Ford’s contribution to OpenXC Platform and OOB, which provide access to the CAN bus and diagnostic information.

With that said, just like much of the web is built on Linux, a huge part of the autonomous future is set to be built on open-source platforms.

An Open Source Future Of Automotive 

Automotive app development services will envelop the experience and services offered for getting around more freely. Automotive software is becoming the differentiating factor in the competitive market. It’ll enable new services and seamless experiences.

The entire internet infrastructure changed over the last decade leveraging open-source software. This system made it easier and cheaper to build websites, an allowed publishers to focus on their content. As a result, a number of improved, amazing websites, apps, and tools are now a reality.

Now it’s automotive industry’s turn to experience this in the coming years.  It definitely won’t be limited to infotainment, autonomous systems, or entire vehicle design. Open source is set to enhance all aspects of a vehicle. Companies embracing this change are able to drive innovation faster and also shift to offering new services and experiences. OSS will drive automotive companies competitive advantages while reducing costs, which promises a bright future.