Linux Rolls Out to Most Toyota and Lexus Vehicles in North America

Jonathan MathewsPublic

At the recent Automotive Linux Summit, held May 31 to June 2 in Tokyo, The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project had one of its biggest announcements in its short history: The first automobile with AGLs open source Linux based Unified Code Base (UCB) infotainment stack will hit the streets in a few months.

In his ALS keynote presentation, AGL director Dan Cauchy showed obvious pride as he announced that the 2018 Toyota Camry will offer an in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system based on AGL’s UCB when it debuts to U.S. customers in late summer. Following the debut, AGL will also roll out to most Toyota and Lexus vehicles in North America.

AGL’s first design win is particularly significant in that Toyota owns 14 percent of the U.S. automotive market. The Japanese automaker recently eclipsed GM as the world’s leading carmaker with an 11 percent global share.

The announcement came around the same time that Google tipped plans for an expansion of its Android Auto project for mobile communications with IVI systems to a comprehensive Android Automotive IVI project. The Android Automotive stack will first appear on Audi and Volvo cars, with the first Volvo model expected in two years.

If all goes to plan, Toyota’s 2018 Camry rollout will occur just over three years after AGL released its initial automotive stack based on Tizen IVI. This was followed a year later by the first AGL Requirements Specification, and then the UCB 1.0, an overhauled version based on Yocto Project code instead of Tizen.

Rapid development

That may seem like a long road compared to many open source projects, but it’s remarkably rapid for the comparatively sluggish automotive market. During that same period, AGL has also racked up an impressive roster of members, including automotive manufacturers like Ford, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Subaru, Toyota. Other members include most of the major Tier 1 system integrators, as well as a growing list of software and services firms.

In his keynote, Cauchy seemed genuinely surprised at how quickly AGL has grown. “Back in 2015 at our first meeting, we had four core members — Honda, JLR, Nissan, and Toyota — and today we have 10 OEM automotive manufacturers,” said Cauchy.  “In 2015, we had 55 members, and we now have 98. We’re seeing a whole range of companies including middleware and services developers, voice recognition and navigation companies, and telecom companies that want to be part of the connected car. We have over 750 developers on the primary AGL mailing list.”

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