LINUX in your car?

Just read an article from TechRepublic and it got me thinking, dangerous, I know 🙂 Here’s the article

All modern cars have some sort of engine management system and to be honest I don’t know if the EMS/ECU is a standard OS (Operating System) used by all vehicle manufacturers but I’m guessing each have their own version and I’m also guessing that it will be based on UNIX/LINUX. I do know that FIAT “employed”  Microsoft to control the “Blue & Me” system, which is designed to make as much use of voice control as possible. When it works it’s brilliant, unfortunately it isn’t the most reliable system and a lot of people don’t bother with it. I’ve upgraded and messed about with it on my wife’s Grande Punto, but I’m trying to forget about it, life’s too short 🙂

So am I excited with the prospect of having LINUX inside the car? I’m not suggesting that the “Blue & Me” is flaky because it’s a Microsoft offering, if anything it’s likely to be the implementation of it and I’m not suggesting that a UNIX/LINUX system will be less flaky but having experienced IOS (UNIX core, AFAIK) and SCO and LINUX and it’s various “distro’s” like Ubuntu, Suse, Mandrake etc; I think excited is not the right word but I’m certainly optimistic about the possibilities!  Unfortunately, I also think of Android and start to break out in sweats! Imagine an Android controlled car that tracks all your journeys and squirts this info up to “the cloud” so that advertisers can direct you to their shop, using the on-board navigation system! Android is such a gossip, it would likely squirt all of your “telemetry” to “The Cloud” to keep track of your average speed, how many stops you make, the route you use most often and even the music you listen to! My optimism has now been replaced with sheer terror 🙂

One of the advantages of using LINUX, is the open source nature and the potential to tap into all of the telemetry and fault codes etc without having to use the dealers expensive diagnostics! The disadvantage would be the open source nature, which would allow people with a little knowledge to tweak settings and make the car useless!

Happy motoring 🙂