BMW looking for partners to develop open-source car software platform

Interesting | October 24th, 2008 by 2

Here is something that I came across today, I don’t have the “full picture”now, but I will get some more details shortly. From MotorAuthority At …

BMW looking for partners to develop open source car software platform

Here is something that I came across today, I don’t have the “full picture”now, but I will get some more details shortly.

From MotorAuthority

At the Convergence 2008 conference on automotive electronics yesterday, BMW revealed it is looking for partners as it pursues an open-source car computing platform. The German company is enthusiastic about the potential for such an open-source system’s potential to keep up with the rapid advances in technology and features in the multimedia and digital entertainment areas.

Though no other car makers are yet officially on board, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Honda have previously participated in a panel on the subject, reports Automotive News. BMW said it wants to have an open-source system in a vehicle selling 200,000 or more units over the next five to seven years.

The newly revealed tie-up with Mercedes-Benz could make cooperation on this front likely as well, since whatever software is chosen will need a specific set of hardware to ensure compatibility – and hardware purchasing is the nature of the BMW-Mercedes agreement. “We were convinced we had to develop an open platform that would allow for open software since the speed in the infotainment and entertainment industry requires us to be on a much faster track,” said Gunter Reichart, BMW vice president of driver
assistance, body electronics and electrical networks. “We invite other OEMs to join with us, to exchange with us. We are open to exchange with others.”


Several other carmakers, including Chrysler, Ford and Honda expressed interest in developing the idea of an open-source platform further. Honda’s Toyohei Nakajima, senior engineer at Honda R&D said, “We also need to make sure who will be responsible for such an open system architecture. Maybe we need to learn more about that from BMW.”

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  • Kevin

    This is great. I’m a huge fan of free/open source software, and if BMW transitioned to open source that would pretty much seal the deal on me being a lifetime customer.

    The biggest benefit that comes to mind is that the community can keep the software updated as long as there’s a will. I have a major concern that companies will decide to stop supporting the in-car software well before the end of the car’s useful lifetime. Especially Microsoft SYNC; Windows 98 for example was ‘obsoleted’ in 2006, and I’d never consider an 8 year old car obsolete.

  • Horatiu B.

    @Kevin: I agree Kevin, I’m a big advocate of open source as well and it is definitely interesting to see what BMW has in mind. I just love the fact that they always think ahead and come up with different ideas.