For about a year, a group of heavyweight automotive and technology companies has been working on a way to hasten development of in-vehicle entertainment systems. Their solution: Share basic software development using the open-source Linux operating system.
Among the nearly 50 members of the group, called the Genivi Alliance, are automakers General Motors Co., BMW AG, Nissan Motor Co. and, as of Feb. 17, Renault SA. Suppliers include Visteon Corp., Delphi Automotive and Continental AG.
The Genivi (pronounced jah-NEE-vee) alliance is focusing on developing "middleware" -- the layer of software that allows various kinds of information and entertainment applications to work together in the car. Middleware controls such functions as encoding audio and video signals and managing power use.
"It's the part that just makes it work," Genivi Secretary Kyle Walworth, a senior manager of audio and information/entertainment architectures at Visteon, told Automotive News at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.