Will Linux make the fresh Toyota Camry a better car?

Will Linux make the fresh Toyota Camry a better car?

When the two thousand eighteen Camry comes out later this year, its navigation and other electronics will run on the Automotive Grade Linux operating system.

Auto Tech

Toyota displayed off its Entune Three.0 infotainment system, based on Automotive Grade Linux, earlier this year.

When the two thousand eighteen Toyota Camry comes out later this year, it will come with a fresh generation infotainment system in the dashboard that Toyota calls Entune Three.0. Behind the scenes, this fresh system relies on Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), an open-source operating system hosted by The Linux Foundation.

The Camry marks the very first production win for AGL, and the Linux proponents behind it couldn’t have asked for a more popular car to host its debut. Toyota sold an average of 396,000 Camrys in the US every year over the past decade.

Automotive infotainment systems, which usually combine navigation, digital audio, hands-free phone calling and third-party apps, have been developed by automakers and equipment suppliers alike, leading to fragmentation and disparate interfaces unique to each brand of vehicle. AGL attempts to make a unified dashboard operating system, freeing automotive software engineers from individual platform development.

The current-generation Entune system in Toyota vehicles works reasonably well, providing in-dash navigation, the capability to play music from connected smartphones and Toyota’s own app integration system, which lets drivers search Yelp or perform more general online searches to find destinations. The adoption of AGL could give Toyota a more future-proof system, with software that can be updated as cars age.

Toyota, which had been a member of the AGL group, chose to use it as the basis for Entune Trio.0, its newest in-dash infotainment system. The fresh Entune will use what Toyota calls App Suite Connect for app integration, albeit there is no word yet as to which apps it will support. Lower-trim Camrys will integrate the Scout app for navigation, using the driver’s smartphone. Higher-trim cars will come with a fresh onboard navigation system with over-the-air map updates. Toyota also notes the Camry includes a Wi-Fi hotspot supported by a 4G/LTE data connection.

Albeit AGL can support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Toyota would not say if those smartphone integration features will be available in the fresh Camry. The reliance on the Scout app for navigation suggests not.

AGL in the Camry does not mark the very first time a UNIX-type operating system has been used in a production car. QNX, possessed by BlackBerry, is a UNIX variant used in many cars for infotainment functions, and is the basis for Ford’s Sync three system, which includes navigation, digital audio and app support.

Toyota plans to spread Entune Trio.0 across its entire lineup, good news for AGL adoption, as it updates individual models. We will find out more about how Entune Three.0 works when Toyota embarks press drives of the fresh Camry next month.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that QNX is not based on Linux, but on UNIX.

Toyota released this picture of the two thousand eighteen Camry’s audio source screen, displaying the fresh Entune Trio.0 interface, earlier this year.

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