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Toyota's entertaining the idea of Linux in cars

2018 Camry's infotainment system will run Automotive Grade Linux

The Linux Foundation's Automotive Grade Linux project is celebrating its first big-name user, after Toyota said it will employ the OS in the 2018 Camry model it will sell in the United States.

Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) is an effort to create a cut of Linux capable of being dropped into cars with minimal integration hassles, so that auto-makers and manufacturers of in-car-electronics can all build to a common standard.

The Camry will use AGL in its infotainment system, which is where the project currently focuses its efforts.

In future the project's participants want the OS to handle just about everything inside a car, including the instrument cluster, a heads-up-display, telematics services, advanced driver assistance systems and even autonomous driving.

Car-makers should, in theory, like that plan because it's clear that drivers increasingly expect all sorts of assistance in the cabin, but if those services come from multiple devices it will increase cars' bill of materials and therefore increase complexity. A single unit to handle all tasks is therefore advanced as more sensible, especially if efforts like Xen Embedded and Automotive can let different services run in nicely-isolated-and-secure virtual machines.

For now, AGL can point to the 2018 Camry as nice proof of concept for its effort.

Linux-lovers, meanwhile, have a cheaper choice than Tesla, which is widely held to use a cut of Debian under the hood of its electronic dashboard and in-car computer. ®

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