An IHS Automotive market study projects that by 2020, Linux will push past QNX and Microsoft to lead a 130 million unit in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) market with a 41.3 percent share. The report follows last week’s revelation that Toyota and Jaguar/Land Rover are working on IVI systems that run the Linux-based Tizen OS.
In recent years, automotive manufacturers have been trying out a variety of new in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) platforms while largely keeping their plans under wraps. Now, it seems, the car companies have begun to place their bets, and the choice is increasingly coming up Linux. In July, ABI Research projected that Linux would quickly grow to represent 20 percent of automotive computers by 2018, pulling closer to Microsoft behind industry-leading QNX. Now, IHS Automotive is painting any even rosier IVI scenario for Linux, projecting that Linux will take over 30 percent of the IVI market in 2018, rising to a leading 41.3 share in 2020, with 53.7 million units out of a 130 million-unit total.
IHI Global IVI OS forecast
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While ABI estimated Linux to have a modest 7.8 million-unit share at the end of 2012, IHS sees the OS launching from an even lower sub-1 million unit start in 2013. The IHS study sees Linux pushing past number two Microsoft in 2017 and edging past market leader QNX in 2020. Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Automotive “is currently at its zenith for market share, accounting for 27 percent of shipments in 2013, with its portion then steadily decreasing to about 18 percent in 2020,” says IHS.
QNX, meanwhile, currently leads with 53 percent share, says IHS. However, that will slip to what appears to be about 40-41 percent by 2020, due in part to the financial problems of its current owner BlackBerry (see chart above).
Thanks to the overall fast growth of IVI, unit sales will increase for all three players through 2020. IHS notes that the 130 million unit total expected in 2020 is about the size of the global PC market in 1999. Also, QNX, unlike Microsoft and Linux, is much stronger in the telematics computers that will work in tandem with IVI systems, thanks in large part to its “better safety certification,” says IHS.
“Growth is being driven by the multiplicity of platforms in many cars,” stated Egil Juliussen, research director for IHS Automotive. A single automobile will potentially have “one OS for the head unit and navigation, another for the telematics system and hands-free interface for mobile phones, and yet another for the rear-seat entertainment system,” he added.
IHS did not indicate whether they foresee these different operating systems running on separate processors, or if they expect them to coexist on one SoC (system-on-chip) via virtualization software, such as Mentor Embedded Hypervisor.
Nor did IHS map out a future for Linux in vehicle telematics, as has been demonstrated in a number of Linux-based autonomous car prototypes from GM and Volkswagen, as well as Google’s Toyota Prius-based self-driving car, which runs Ubuntu.
The move toward Linux IVI systems is being driven by “open-source momentum, future cost savings advantages, and availability from multiple suppliers at every level in the software hierarchy,” says IHS. Open source software and the lack of a single dominant software manufacturer feeds into “the auto industry’s desire to control and set its own system architecture,” says the research firm. This motivation is said to be strongest among Tier 1 suppliers “that must control and manage the software platforms in order to retain the infotainment hardware manufacturing business,” says IHS.
Genivi and GM take the lead
2014 Cadillac CTS
Many flavors of Linux will compete, but IHS expects that the momentum will remain behind those compliant with the open source GENIVI spec. These include most of the Linux-based platforms we see on the market including Mentor’s Embedded Automotive Technology Platform (ATP), borrowed in part from MontaVista’s IVI stack, as well as Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux IVI stack and the Wind River IVI stack.
Among early Linux-based IVI systems, GM is said to be the volume leader, with most Cadillac models now using the Linux-based CUE system. The CUE-enabled Cadillac CTS was recently named the 2014 Motor Trend Car of the Year, making this the second year in a row in which a Linux-enabled car took the prize. The 2013 winner was the all-electric Tesla S, which uses Linux for telematics, as well as IVI.
2014 Cadillac XTS CUE IVI system
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In the next few years, much of the growth in Linux-based IVI units will come from more mainstream cars. Linux-based GM cars are “arriving or will be deployed on Buick, GMC, Chevrolet and Opel models,” says IHS. Meanwhile, BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroen, and Jaguar/Land Rover are committed to using GENIVI-compliant Linux stacks, says the research firm.
We knew about the commitment of PSA and Jaguar to GENIVI, but BMW’s Linux plans appear to be fairly new. Although like GM, BMW has been a member of the GENIVI Foundation, its IVI systems have mostly run QNX and Microsoft software. BMW may be one of several manufacturers still trying out different platforms.
Toyota, Jaguar prepping Tizen IVI system
2014 Lexus IS
IHS made no mention of Toyota, but this summer the Japanese automaker revealed that the 2014 Toyota Lexus IS has a Linux IVI system.
Toyota is not a member of GENIVI, but is the leading automaker to sign on to the Linux Foundation’s Tizen-oriented Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) working group. Therefore, it was not a huge surprise that at last week’s Tizen Developer Summit, it was revealed that Toyota and Jaguar/Land Rover are both working on Tizen-based IVI systems. It’s unclear whether the current Lexus IS system runs a version of Tizen, however.
Renault R-Link IVI
The IHS study did not detail to what the degree the Linux-based Android platform would play in the IVI market. In September, Renault said that its Android-based R-Link in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system was available in 15 Renault car models.
More information on the study may be found at IHS Automotive’s website.