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Toyota Uses Open-Source Software in New Approach to In-Car Tech

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June 2, 2017—Toyota said the infotainment system of its revamped Camry sedan to be sold in the United States will run on a Linux-based, open-source technology platform as it tries to keep up with tech firms in developing software for cars, according to Reuters.

With the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) system in a mainstay model, Toyota aims to have the flexibility to customise its software, while it would also keep user data that could otherwise be captured by CarPlay from Apple Inc or Android Auto from Alphabet Inc's Google applications, which enable users to access smartphone data through vehicle infotainment systems.

Toyota is among 10 global automakers working with suppliers and technology companies to jointly build AGL, a basic, open-source platform for vehicle applications which automakers can customise, eliminating the need to code systems from the ground up for each vehicle model.

Developing the platform in collaboration with Mazda Motor Corp, Suzuki Motor Corp, Daimler AG and others will reduce development time and costs, Toyota said, and create an industry standard platform to operate in-vehicle features including music and navigation applications.

The platform can also be used to support future advanced technologies, including self-driving functions and connected car services.

"It's very necessary to reduce the overhead of duplication work among our suppliers so they can spend more time to create new things rather than maintaining fragmentary codes," said Kenichi Murata, group manager of Connected Strategy and Planning at Toyota.

Cars typically require over 100 million lines of computer code as automakers pack as much technology as possible to attract buyers.

So much so that coding has become an increasingly cumbersome part of vehicle development, which takes years, compared with the mere months it takes for tech firms to develop apps.

In addition, the process requires constant updating to keep up with technology developments and which results in disparate interfaces between automaker's products.

 

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