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Auto Makers To Standardize On Open Source

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the making-sure-drivers-can't-play-video-games dept.

Transportation 160

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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160 comments

Microsoft fans know about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083509)

EEE

No, bad idea (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

capnkid (87180) | about 10 months ago | (#45083563)

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 (4, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 10 months ago | (#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.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

afidel (530433) | about 10 months ago | (#45083721)

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:No, bad idea (2, Interesting)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#45083851)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083739)

I agree with you. Hell, even Michael Hastings would also agree with you...oh, wait.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:No, bad idea (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45083893)

Most of these systems have a gateway processor to the car network -- precisely because the big 32-bit processor shouldn't be directly touching the network.

Most don't control safety-critical things like climate control, as that bumps up the safety category of the device, again a problem for giant, 32-bit processors doing navigation, voice recognition, and a million other complex (i.e. potentially buggy) and CPU-intensive things.

That's all reserved for small processors with executive loops and mathematical guarantees of real-time cycle limits on functions to guarantee maximum return time. There is no pre-emptive multitasking, just loops calling functions every 100ms, for example.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 10 months ago | (#45084183)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (2)

mea_culpa (145339) | about 10 months ago | (#45084257)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45084243)

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

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

Re:No, bad idea (5, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 10 months ago | (#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 (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 10 months ago | (#45083717)

We have that; it's called ODB2.

Re:No, bad idea (4, Funny)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 10 months ago | (#45084305)

Ol' Dirty Bastard's son is your mechanic?

Re:No, bad idea (2)

Machupo (59568) | about 10 months ago | (#45083815)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 10 months ago | (#45084171)

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

Re:No, bad idea (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 10 months ago | (#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.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#45083649)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45083675)

Pairing the phone one time is too hard?

Re:No, bad idea (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45083889)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 10 months ago | (#45083963)

Why in the world do you change the ROM on your phone weekly? Is it a hobby? Entertainment? Does the tinfoil around it not keep out the government spyware?

Re:No, bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084115)

some people cream their pants downloading the new CM update and seeing the huge performance differences

Re:No, bad idea (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45084131)

Little bit hobby, lotta bit old piece of shit that has to be wiped and redone constantly just to keep it alive.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

afidel (530433) | about 10 months ago | (#45083773)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 10 months ago | (#45084169)

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 enough" point too. While I'm sure something faster will be available in 10 years I'm betting that 4G will still be completely serviceable for these types of needs in 10 years.

And worse case scenario if something does become outdated is you do exactly what you mostly have to do now anyways: use your phone for these things.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

afidel (530433) | about 10 months ago | (#45084289)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

cusco (717999) | about 10 months ago | (#45084391)

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'.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 10 months ago | (#45084139)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083855)

Pioneer does make exactly this, called the Appradio. It's not very expensive (as car stereos go), and I can't understand why it's not more popular.
(you do need a 3rd party app on your phone to get full functionality out of it, however)

Re:No, bad idea (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45084039)

Can it mirror the phone display?
I want to open google maps on the phone and have it show up on the dash.

Re:No, bad idea (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 10 months ago | (#45083907)

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.

Re:No, bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083965)

This.

A decent car should last 15-20 years. I supposed to put up with a 20 year old infotainment computer in my car, when I can use the latest phone for the same purpose? This idea is beyond stupid. How many slashdotters are still using 486s for their everyday computing?

Hear Hear! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084011)

I have long said that I want no further techno crap in my automobiles. I want a decent touch screen with connectivity options such as Bluetooth or a docking port for my phone or future device.

Cars easily last for 10 or more years. I presently have one that is 14 years old. It's navigation maps have not been updated by the manufacturer in nine years! My own home/street isn't on the map! This causes the navigation system to try to correct the car's location onto the nearest street that does appear on the map, which is totally inaccurate.What was cutting edge when the car was new is utterly useless today. My smartphones, which are replaced every two to three years, are leaps and bounds more power and up-to-date than anything a 5 year old car might have. But, thier small screens are hard to read for mapping, especially while driving and using them (via their screen) while driving is illegal in more and more states.

The car needs to just provide a nice display and HID integrated into the dash. Let the phone do the rest. As for Tesla's big fancy screen? Check back in 4 years and see how frustrated their owners will be when Tesla announces no further updates and the owners are coveting what ever is available on a smartphone or newer Tesla models.

Something like AirPlay mirroring (1)

swb (14022) | about 10 months ago | (#45084371)

....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 display mirroring would also adapt the screen for a different resolution/aspect ratio. I don't know how resolution independent the iPhone is, but it'd be nice if the mirrored image was reformatted for the aspect ratio & resolution of the dash display.

While this would be great for all the usual in-car app functionality, I see no reason why a dedicated window (or ideally, entire display) couldn't be devoted to car operations -- climate controls, etc -- with some physical buttons perhaps for some features.

But this will make cars so much easier to hack! (0, Flamebait)

krept (697623) | about 10 months ago | (#45083521)

Doesn't anyone know open source means all the hackers can just go right in and edit your car's source code?

Re: But this will make cars so much easier to hack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083663)

No, that's not how open source works.

And open source is anti-business! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45083767)

A consortium of major car manufacturers looking to create an open source standard platform demonstrates that open source is anti-business.

Re:And open source is anti-business! (1)

krept (697623) | about 10 months ago | (#45084197)

Damn commies. Totally against the capitalist principals that have made American auto manufacturers so successful over the years.

Re:But this will make cars so much easier to hack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083937)

Doesn't anyone know open source means all the hackers can just go right in and edit your car's source code?

Just make sure the only text editor available is Emacs and your source code is secure.

Re:But this will make cars so much easier to hack! (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#45083999)

Emacs? "vi" you fool!

Re: But this will make cars so much easier to hack (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 10 months ago | (#45084249)

set cylinders=12;
set displacement-liters=7;
set turbochargers=2;
m ake world

There, Now we have the world's fastest Geo Metro!

Re: But this will make cars so much easier to hack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084287)

You wouldn't download an intercooler?

We don't need no infotainment (2)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 10 months ago | (#45083523)

We don't need no thought control!

HOLLYWOOD, STAY THE HELL OUT OF MY CAR! yeah, I'm yelling, so what?

just because (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45084191)

"Last of the Wild Ones" [archive.org] , Roger Zelazny, Omni Magazine, March 1981, pp 53+

I thought they also published "Devil Car" in Omni, but I can't track that one down.

"carmakers can share upgrades as they arrive"? (4, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about 10 months ago | (#45083543)

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.

they CAN share but WILL they? (2)

themushroom (197365) | about 10 months ago | (#45083607)

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.

Re:they CAN share but WILL they? (3, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about 10 months ago | (#45083697)

Bingo! Worse leading to the kind of fragmentation we see in the Android world where the phones may be running Android under the hood, but buying from X means you have access to an even better app store, while Y gives you a more polished front end which removes almost all traces of Android from text, logos and UI look & feel.

Re:"carmakers can share upgrades as they arrive"? (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about 10 months ago | (#45083945)

The other alternative is to take Sony's attitued with the PS3 and issue quite a lot of updates. Even years after sales.

I'm not sure which I prefer, actually.

Re:"carmakers can share upgrades as they arrive"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084045)

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?

You seem overly pessimistic about it, considering this is happening already. For example I took my 5 year old Volvo to service recently and they also did a software update to, iirc, at least 5 components. Not sure about the specific details, but it probably invovled some bug fixes. If they settle on a common platform then it will get even easier.

Re:"carmakers can share upgrades as they arrive"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084069)

Just start your own branches and create simple mods for particular makes/models. It seems to be working for Cyanogenmod.

Re:"carmakers can share upgrades as they arrive"? (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45084129)

and if its anything like CM, half the car's features will suddenly stop working

Re:"carmakers can share upgrades as they arrive"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084263)

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 would image every 3,000 miles. If electric cars become the main stay, they will need some sort of new excuse to reel you in other than replacing a fluid.

Another Fucking Bugging Device (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083559)

How many bugging devices do we need???

Re:Another Fucking Bugging Device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083577)

"More than you have today" -NSA

Yeah Right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083565)

Great idea, but this will never happen. The auto industry loves their vendor lock in as much as the software vendors. Just look what they did, and continue to do with radios, and CD players.

Obligatory xkcd (2)

Dusty (10872) | about 10 months ago | (#45083573)

XKCD Standards [xkcd.com]

Android (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083579)

Why not just use Android?

HMTA! (1)

austexmonkey (1108037) | about 10 months ago | (#45083587)

As the say goes: Hey man, that's Africa!

Re:HMTA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083699)

Wrong story.

Also, while driving last Sunday I saw a huge man in black leather, chains, bandanna and goate astride a big, gnarly looking Harley at the side of the road, hunched over and pawing intently at his tiny smartphone with traffic whizzing by.

It was just an odd scene.

Show of hands ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45083591)

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.

Re:Show of hands ... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 10 months ago | (#45083723)

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 caused any accidents yet. Go figure....

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. In my opinion, we are obviously still on the learning curve when it comes to cell phones and texting, but as text-to-voice and voice recognition becomes better so does the safety factor.

Re:Show of hands ... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45083949)

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:Show of hands ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083785)

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

Having recently purchased a vehicle with Ford's Sync (aka, my car is Siri)... *raises hand*

Driving your car is not the place to be reading restaurant reviews

How about listening to restaurant reviews? Shall we wall off and completely isolate the driver's seat? Passengers are just as, if not more distracting.

My car doesn't get pissed at me when I stop paying attention to it because some blissfully unaware asshole attempts to pull into my front quarter, all while whining to his passenger about those damned assholes on their cellphones.

You insensitive clod! (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 10 months ago | (#45084149)

I'm a T-Rex.

Re:You insensitive clod! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45084235)

I'm a T-Rex.

Bite me. ;-)

Meanwhile, at the CEO's house one evening... (4, Informative)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about 10 months ago | (#45083611)

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.

Microsoft STYNC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083667)

Good riddance. These infotainment systems have historically been buggy and lead to animosity misdirected at the auto manufacturer rather than the software provider. Witness the story of Ford. On the rebound after the auto-crisis of 2007, Ford quality grew by leaps and bounds, outpacing the industry in 2008 [ford.com] , and resulting in a top-5 JD Power and Associates ranking in 2009. That year, Ford added Microsoft SYNC to their vehicles and called it "MyFordTouch." The interface was so buggy and inconsistent that it lead to Ford dropping from number 5 in JD Power's quality 2010 [autoblog.com] quality rankings (despite no major overhalls and no new engines that year), to number 23 [cnn.com] a year later, and then all the way to 33rd this year [cars.com] . Now Ford customers have launched a class-action [cnbc.com] lawsuit against Ford.

The sooner auto manufacturers standardize on a infotainment system, the better. The fact that this is open-source and based on Linux (specifically, Tizen) makes it even more likely that updates will be provided many years down the road. (even if not by the manufacturers themselves, by the community; think Cyanogenmod). This makes cars less like disposable toys and more worthy of being the second-largest expense that most households make.

Re:Microsoft STYNC (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 10 months ago | (#45084403)

Pretty much every television set out there runs Linux. But if you have an app on a Panasonic TV, can you run it on a Samsung TV, or even a different model of Panasonic TV? Usually you can't.

why would car makers avoid obsolesence (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 10 months ago | (#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.

who gives a shit about infotainment? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 10 months ago | (#45083687)

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

Re:who gives a shit about infotainment? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45083959)

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.

Better than now but it ain't gonna solve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083695)

Cars last 10 to 20 years. (Mine are 8 and 14 years old, and both are likely to live to 20.)

Consumer electronic crap lasts three years. Four, tops.

In five years, when I buy a 2013-ish car to replace my '00, I will have no use at all for a circa 2013 in-car computer. If the thing is integrated with the stereo, climate controls, etc. it will be a liability that will cost a good chunk of cash to replace. The system will not have zero value, it will actually detract from the value of the used car- just look at any recent vehicle whose climate controls are routed through a touchscreen, and think about who will want to buy that from you once it starts acting up.

What in-car computers need is a standard interface and standard APIs so that your steering wheel buttons, HUD, sound system, etc. can work with whatever phone-like gadget you happen to be carrying. None of the smarts of the thing should be built into the car itself.

And none of this stuff should ever have write access to the network that the engine controller, etc. are on. It should go without saying, but...

Re:Better than now but it ain't gonna solve it (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 10 months ago | (#45083777)

You mean treat the car as a peripheral device?

Re:Better than now but it ain't gonna solve it (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 10 months ago | (#45083989)

20 year old electronic devices do still often work. Touch screens are solid state so last a long time. You will be able to control the air con, play music, connect to GPS satellites. Maybe it will look a little dated. But so does the cassette player in a lot of older cars. They still work.

Re:Better than now but it ain't gonna solve it (3, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | about 10 months ago | (#45084533)

Touch screens are solid state so last a long time. You will be able to control the air con, play music, connect to GPS satellites..

Anyone who thinks touchscreens should be involved with anything that is likely to be manipulated while driving should be hit (At low speed. We want them to learn, not die) by a driver who was looking down to fiddle with one of their stupid creations.

Thou shalt not require visual feedback. Anything the driver is going to use while driving shall be usable blind. That means buttons and knobs that do exactly one thing and provide tactile and/or aural feedback.

The only things that the driver should be looking at are the road, the mirrors (or equivalent. Well-positioned exterior cameras can give much better visibility than mirrors), and the gauges.

Cue Ballmer throwing a chair, at his car this time (1)

echtertyp (1094605) | about 10 months ago | (#45083719)

That guy's blood pressure must be something else these days.

Don't install the IVI platform for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083765)

I would prefer a do-it-yourself KITT.

All I need is a temperature and oil pressure gauge (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083775)

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

Allow Root Access Please! (2)

WhatHump (951645) | about 10 months ago | (#45083789)

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.

Re:Allow Root Access Please! (3, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | about 10 months ago | (#45083905)

I have Microsoft Sync in my car and it is a useless POS. Doesn't sync. Odd options. Doesn't play music from the USB reliably.
Absolutely worthless.

Re:Allow Root Access Please! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084187)

So, it's just like Windows phone?

Re:Allow Root Access Please! (1)

UneducatedSixpack (2829861) | about 10 months ago | (#45084379)

BTW windows phone has no problems reading SMSs over bluetooth while I drive. Phone also has voice recognition so I can also reply if I want. Not sure what sync does but I always thought that phone is reading SMSs and not the car's computer. Maybe android phone should read those messages.

get rich scheme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083801)

Man, I wish I had a nickle for every industry that had adopted open source, I would be rich.

Then again, if I had a penny for every open source adopter who went back to proprietary, I'd probably be richer.

Re:get rich scheme (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 10 months ago | (#45083927)

Why would they pay you a nickle for open source?
Open source is free.
OTOH, they do charge for proprietary software so you might be able to get your penny there.

This is inevitable. (4, Interesting)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 10 months ago | (#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.

Re:This is inevitable. (1)

Meeni (1815694) | about 10 months ago | (#45084125)

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?

they CAN, but they won't share (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 10 months ago | (#45083875)

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

hell, no.

MS isn't a major player and I don't like this idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45083879)

(posting anon because of login troubles on work network)

MS is not a big player in car infotainment. The big players and ones which work the best are BOSE (Linux), Harman-Becker (QNX), and small shops specific to an automaker who generally use Linux or VxWorks.

Personally, I don't like the "lets use Linux everywhere" mentality. Automakers have some amount of diversity, and there are amazing things about working with QNX which Linux will never have. Unification will force everyone to mediocrity without much ability to do things differently or stand out. Yes yes, people will scream at me "But standardizing will produce more stability and ease of deployment". From experience, I don't believe that is true. Many makers will want to customize and need to re-test deployments, so everything will end up non-standard anyway. Developers will get lazy and trust in software which hasn't been properly tested, and won't need as much experience to put a system together, so won't be able to debug problems as effectively.

Some people believe that standardization helps progress. I don't agree. I feel that it stagnates progress and makes everything feel generic and uninteresting. It might be a good thing with consumer-facing things like phone chargers and interconnects, but there's just no reason for it in the fixed embedded space like with car infotainment.

Re:MS isn't a major player and I don't like this i (2)

eliphalet (1222732) | about 10 months ago | (#45084177)

MS is not a big player in car infotainment.

My new Ford C-Max Hybrid, with the infamous MyFordTouch, has a Microsoft label on the dash and a Microsoft EULA in the owner's manual.

Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084093)

Remember when people were bitching about the radio being too distracting while driving?
I swear half the things we've done were just to shut those guys up.
I doubt you'll find a single sane person still advocating to remove radios from cars.

Engine diagnostics (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 10 months ago | (#45084119)

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.

Re:Engine diagnostics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084425)

an ODBII reader costs like 20 bucks in an autopart shop around here

Microsoft Sync sucks (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#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.

Tizen is going for this (1)

SendBot (29932) | about 10 months ago | (#45084215)

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]

Not good, will get worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084231)

Cars already use open source and already track you. A standardized method to track vehicles will make it possible to a) track people en-masse without their consent and b) hack people's cars and turn them into botnets, because manufacturers will never patch vulnerabilities.

SecurityCircus is ranting about this already: http://www.securitycircus.com/posts/automakers-partner-with-google-to-track-your-car

Does anyone remember when... (1)

thevirtualcat (1071504) | about 10 months ago | (#45084329)

... cars had buttons on their consoles? You know, actual buttons you could feel and press without looking at them? Not just widgets on a touch screen? When you didn't have to look at your radio to make sure it was on the "right screen" to do what you want?

Granted, I wouldn't mind having my Google/Apple/Bing/whatever maps integrated into my dash rather than awkwardly hanging my phone from the windsheild. But I also don't want to have to pull the car over, flip through 47 menus, wait through three system updates and reboot the car five times to turn on my air conditioning*.

* Yes, I know it's not really that bad. Yet. Just you wait.

Another step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084365)

Now the NSA will have a standard platform to spy on you in your car.

This is just a Bait waiting for Microsoft to take (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45084439)

We have seen this before. Org A says 'We are going 100% FOSS'. Microsoft sends in a 'special fix-it team' and before you know it, the company quietly drops the FOSS statement and smiles as the continue to use MS software at less cost than before.

Nuff said?

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