Automotive Grade Linux establishes major bridgehead in China

Picture courtesy Reuters

Automotive Grade Linux, the open-source automotive operating system, has established a major bridgehead in the world’s largest auto market China. The rapidly spreading collaborative cross-industry project just signed China’s SAIC Motors to its growing list of members, the Linux Foundation said in a statement.

Majority-owned by the province-level municipality of Shanghai, SAIC is China’s largest Automaker by far. Having entered one of China’s first automotive joint-ventures in 1984 with Germany’s Volkswagen, SAIC also is ground zero of China’s automotive revolution. SAIC also has a long-standing joint venture with General Motors, along with a truck JV with IVECO.

SAIC’s step to join the AGL crowd was logical; after all, its major JV partner Volkswagen signed-up with AGL in April this year. VW will use AGL to build its VW.OS operating system for all of its group brands. There are persistent rumors that GM is looking into AGL as well, and with GM’s China bastion SAIC being a card-carrying AGL, the rumors receive new fuel. All eyes now are on Volkswagen’s second Chinese JV partner FAW, especially because the government-owned automaker also is a JV partner of AGL’s biggest booster Toyota.

OEMs responsible for over half of the world’s car production have thrown their heft behind the open source operating system. Originally initiated by Toyota’s Ken Murata, who turned into a Linux convert while heading Sony’s Playstation development, AGL first spread to every Japanese automaker, and then around the globe. Korean powerhouse Hyundai signed on. In Germany, both Daimler and BMW joined. Suppliers like Continental, chipmakers like Renesas and Hitachi, software houses like Adobe or Oracle all are AGL members.

AGL is a Linux-based operating system for cars. Like similar specialized projects for power plants or Internet providers, AGL is a specialized embedded Linux, hardened for the rigors an automobile must face.



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