Hardware

Photos: A look at the Linux OS that wants to get inside your car

Linux is nothing if not flexible. The open source operating system can be found on phones, servers and PCs throughout and beyond this world.

Now the OS is being manoeuvred to seize pole position in the car. Not only is Google planning to launch its Google Voice-controlled Android Auto in-car system – but this week saw the release of the in-vehicle infotainment system in the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) stack.

AGL is built on top of Tizen In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) software, a version of the Tizen Linux-based phone OS modified to interact with in-vehicle electronics.

"Using AGL means the industry benefits from the stability and strength of a common Linux distribution, Tizen IVI, at the core while bringing their own unique applications and functionality to market faster," said Rudolf Strief, director of embedded solutions at The Linux Foundation.

The current release of AGL provides a range of apps designed to control in-car entertainment, climate and navigation. Apps are built using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

Here you can see the AGL Home screen. From here users can use touch to launch any of the system's apps.

The system is still at an early stage, with new features and capabilities to be added. AGL will be designed to be customisable, allowing multiple car manufacturers to build their own branded systems around the same core software.

Anyone who wants to contribute to the AGL project can find the code, Design Requirements Documents and more on the AGL wiki.

AGL is free to download and anyone can participate in the open source community. The AGL initiative is driven by the Automotive Grade Linux Workgroup of the Linux Foundation.

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

7 comments
knuthf
knuthf

This has been around for decades. I drive a car that use computers extensively. It sensors the power, the temperature inside/outside, controls the stereo, adjust the engine to optimal performance, links up to Google Maps to show me where I am, does not alert me when its raining, just turns on the vipers, in dark, turns on the light and adjust. I envisage a future where the systems will monitor the driver, measure my performance and tell me when it is better for me to stop - before an accident happens.


We need these systems,and they have been around for decades - EPOC is a POSIX predecessor to Linux have have been used by Japanese and European car manufacturer for a long time. It is also well known as the core part of Symbian. Maemo was developed as a Debian variant with Intel for mobiles and the automotive industry - that withdrew. Then MeeGo was developed by Intel, Nokia and Samsung in joint venture - without the car industry. If you want to study graphical interface, study their "PlasmaOne" - make the above "suck". The recipe seems to be to keep the Americans out of all efforts to standardise computer systems. So Samsung has this, and probably selling to all the large European, Japanese and Korean manufacturers. Well, it can use Google Maps....

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

Let's see; what year was the radio put into the automobile?  Good thing drivers then tuned in the station and adjusted the volume before putting the car in gear.  Likewise with the heat and fan controls.  Woe to the driver that would take his hands off the steering wheel to change to a different station or turn on the wipers! ;-)


My point is, it's a matter of degree, and a matter of a well-designed interface, not that ALL non-driving functions must be disabled while driving.  Simplicity and clarity in the interface is necessary (one could say, vital), and many of the screens in this slideshow fail that miserably.  That's not to say AGL is a bad idea, but the automakers need much better interface designers than were demonstrated here.

ReadThis
ReadThis

This is freaking NUTS!  Any and all touch capabilities should be DISABLED while the vehicle is in motion! I will accept voice activation but not touch which would be just as bad as texting while driving.

pedromillie
pedromillie

While it is true that there are a lot of distracted drivers, it does not mean that there should not be any improvements for car stereos. In the end, it is up to the driver to make choices that are safe for him and everyone around him. We also have a lot of drunk drivers on the street and you don't anyone make drinking illegal.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

It's all great stuff.  But when you're sitting in the driver's seat, you are already multi-tasking.  None of it should be accessible to the driver while the vehicle is in motion except a default vehicle status display.

Maybe the people designing these distractions should be forced to ride along in 75 mph traffic while D. A. Driver tries to select a playlist, use the cell phone, check the map display, and keep the car on the road without hitting anything else.


knuthf
knuthf

@NickNielsen Am I allowed to press the brake pedal?
 (that means that I have to touch the wide pad with my right foot, and this is very sensitive to pressure)

Madsmaddad
Madsmaddad

@knuthf According to Honest John, the motoring guru  for the Daily Telegraph, you are supposed to use your LEFT foot on the brake pedal, because so many people have accidents  due to pressing the wrong pedal with their right foot. One leg per task, not multi-tasking the right foot.