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AGL: Building a Single Common Platform for the Entire Industry

By June 15, 2015December 30th, 2016Blog

Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) has gained a lot of momentum over the past year, including a 60% increase in member growth and additional OEMs including Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors and Subaru have come onboard. As we gear up for Automotive Linux Summit (ALS) in July, we wanted to update everyone on our progress and share what we’ve been working on. The full agenda and keynotes for ALS were recently announced and include Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Corporation, Renesas and DENSO Corporation.

What is AGL?    

AGL is an open source collaborative project hosted by The Linux Foundation. We are a “code first” organization and we are building an open platform and application framework that will enable rapid innovation across the entire automotive industry.

Automotive infotainment systems have fallen behind the smartphone in terms of features and functionality that the consumer expects. This is because the traditional supply chain model isn’t working:

  • Innovation is too slow
  • Time to market is too long
  • There’s very little software reuse
  • There is a fragmented software developer ecosystem

Currently, each automotive OEM uses its own proprietary operating system and software stack for infotainment, creating a lot of fragmentation in the industry. By developing an open platform and building an AGL ecosystem and supply chain that all use the same code base, we can change the way automotive software is built. We can focus more on innovation and new features. We can focus on creating an ecosystem of software developers using the same code base. This will change the way consumers interact with the vehicle, the way vehicles interact with other vehicles and the way vehicles interact with the cloud.

Right now, we are focused on infotainment through our AGL Unified Code Base (UCB). But our roadmap includes all functions in the vehicle including instrument clusters,  heads-up displays, advanced driver assistance systems and ultimately autonomous driving.

Building a Common Platform

The AGL Unified Code Base (UCB), which we announced and demonstrated for the first time at CES 2016, was built from the ground up and leverages the best software components from AGL and other existing open source projects such as Tizen IVI and GENIVI Alliance.

By customizing the distribution to meet specific automotive requirements, the AGL UCB is in a unique position to become the de facto standard for the industry. The UCB platform will provide a common platform that all OEMs can customize and build on top of to advance their connected car applications.

AGL’s goal is to build 70-80% of the starting point of a production project, and it is up to the OEMs to customize the other 20-30%, and provide the final verification of the entire system. The OEMs, with help from their suppliers, will customize the look-and-feel, branding, graphics and will decide which applications they want to add, which might be different in an entry vehicle compared to a luxury vehicle.

The AGL collab project uses a code-first approach, meaning that the industry is sharing the same code base. The UCB is about building a common application framework: the kernel, device drivers, middleware, application framework API and SDK are all common and shared, and it will be reused and improved for years and years, and from vehicle model to vehicle model, and from OEM to OEM.

The advantage of an open source approach is that all of the OEMs and suppliers are working on the same platform. We are building an ecosystem of experts, system developers, application developers, all using the same software platform. Everyone is working on the same code, contributing, improving and fixing bugs on the same software. When AGL members improve the UCB, they share their improvements with everyone. And also dozens of companies are finding and fixing bugs, and sharing their bug fix with everyone. This is the power of open source!

Uniting the Industry

Our rapid growth is proof that the industry is beginning to see the value in working together around an open platform. We’ve seen tremendous growth over the past year with more than 35 new members joining, bringing our total to more than 70 members.

We now have eight OEMs on board including Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors and Subaru. And, we recently announced several new members including Continental Automotive, Hyundai Mobis, Oracle, Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc., Texas Instruments, UIEvolution and VeriSilicon.

Other members include Aisin AW, Codethink, DENSO, Fujitsu Ten, HARMAN, Intel, Mitsubishi Electric, NTT DATA MSE, Panasonic, Pioneer, Renesas Electronics, Wind River and many more. Check out the full list of members here.

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About the author of this post

Dan Cauchy

Dan Cauchy is the General Manager of Automotive at Linux Foundation. He is responsible for the overall management and execution of the Automotive Grade Linux collaborative project, an industry effort to build an open source automotive reference platform backed by leading car manufacturers around the world. His full bio is available here.