On April 21, Dan Cauchy spoke about disrupting automotive software development through the open source project at Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), where he is the Executive Director. AGL is building an open operating system and framework for automotive applications ranging from infotainment to autonomous driving.

The project is one of many hosted by the Linux Foundation and aims to share a single software platform across the industry to decrease development times so OEMs and suppliers can focus on rapid innovation and bringing products to market faster.

The presentation began with a straightforward question: why do so many people use a smartphone mount in their car? The price of the mount is disproportionate to the value of the car, but the gadget helps drivers keep all the information and services stored on the phone at their fingertips. Unfortunately, the automotive industry has not kept up with consumer expectations despite having the capability to do so. Since there is no long-term software investment in the industry, vehicles are being built with different operating systems worsening fragmentation among auto manufacturers.

To fix this problem, AGL is working with 150 companies across the auto and tech industries, toward seamless software integration and the creation of a universal shared platform. As a result, automakers such as Toyota, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are able to build their own service platforms while controlling the software and data through AGL’s open source.

Major hardware reference boards supported by AGL include Intel, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Raspberry Pi, QEMU, and NXP, among countless others.

10 Takeaways from Dan’s Lecture:

  1. It’s not about cars anymore; many automakers are in the software business and open source is the new norm for software development.
  2. AGL’s mission is to build a single software platform for the entire industry by providing all the valuable middleware, including graphics, Bluetooth, and security infrastructure to cover 70-80% of any production project.
  3. AGL is a “code first” organization and believes that specifications lead to fragmentation, which in turn hinders innovation.
  4. AGL began adding the label “UCB” (unified code base) to their software releases to send the message that they are trying to unify the industry on one platform. To date, they have had two releases per year, every year since 2016.
  5. Documentation for developers can be found at http://docs.automotivelinux.org.
  6. AGL is the only organization addressing all vehicle software components including the instrument cluster, infotainment, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), telematics, and more.
  7. AGL continues to grow with support from 11 automakers across Asia, Europe, and North America.
  8. You don’t have to be an expert to be involved in AGL expert groups! There are a total of 10 groups which range from navigation and virtualization to reference hardware system architecture (currently led by Mazda).
  9. AGL dev kits are available for anyone to download.
  10. V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) topics for 2021 and beyond consist of IoT protocols, smart cities, identity management, smart meters and parking garages, remote vehicle registration, cloud connectivity and location-based services.

MOBI applauds Automotive Grade Linux and their partners for their work in smart mobility. We look forward to seeing more AGL advancements in innovation.