CeBIT 2009: BMW and Partners Found GENIVI Open Source Platform

Mar 03, 2009

In a keynote at the Open Source Forum of CeBIT 2009, Graham Smethurst, general manager of infotainment and communication systems at BMW, will present a new Open Source development platform for the auto industry. Under the name GENIVI, founding partners BMW, Delphi, General Motors, Intel, Magneti Marelli, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Visteon and Wind River will jointly develop Linux-based infotainment software

The "IVI" part of the name GENIVI is short for "in-vehicle infotainment" and reveals the common goal of the partners in the auto, IT and infotainment electronics industries. The driving force is BMW's software development team, which for several months has been working with embedded Linux vendor Wind River on infotainment packages based on free software, at least initially for its luxury cars.

The cooperation with the other GENIVI partners has long been on BMW's wish list. At CeBIT in Hannover, the participating companies - usually competitors - will join together as GENIVI representatives for their presentation on March 5 from 2:00 to 3:30 PM in Hall 6.

BMW's Smethurst is pleased with the planned cooperation, as he has always felt strongly about the advantages of an open source collaboration. He says, "GENIVI will challenge the traditional approach of proprietary solutions and spawn a level of creativity not yet seen in this segment. Collaborating on a common reference platform in non-differentiating areas of the architecture will allow GENIVI members to focus on the development and integration of innovative customer functionality." Hans-Georg Frischkorn, General Motors executive director of global electrical systems, controls and software, agrees: "Having a common reference platform will be critical for the greater auto ecosystem in developing innovative and sophisticated in-car entertainment applications."

Under the GENIVI name the industry alliance will develop a common hardware and software architecture that should profit OEMs, Tier 1 and other providers. The components of the GENIVI platform will include Linux-based services, middleware and open application layer interfaces. Based on the vision of the alliance members, the open source platform should be the first point of contact and base for all automotive vendors and their suppliers, who should contribute to GENIVI to develop and expand it further with their own products and services.

Smethurst and his colleagues are convinced of faster development and dramatically reduced production costs through their initiative, while at the same time willing to shake off dependency on proprietary solutions. Thanks to freely available source code, the path should be set for individual infotainment variants.

Smethurst promises the first version of the GENIVI platform as early as the summer of 2009. It should be based on an automotive prototype based on Wind River Linux and Intel's Atom processor that has been in development over the last 18 months. The reference implementation will be made available as open source code "to stimulate innovation among developers."

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