Today the Eclipse Foundation is announcing a new working group dedicated to developing a new and innovative software platform for the world’s automotive industry. The Eclipse Software Defined Vehicle (SDV) initiative has the support of leading companies across the automotive, IT, cloud, and services industries, all of which are necessary to create the platform and ecosystem that will drive innovation for the next generation of mobility solutions.
The automotive industry today is undergoing a radical transformation. Electrification, autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems, and ever-increasing consumer expectations about their in-car digital experience, are all happening at once. These trends are dramatically transforming the system architectures embedded in vehicles. Automotive architectures are moving from networks of special purpose devices to something that more closely resembles servers on wheels, where more powerful general purpose computers are responsible for implementing and coordinating the various systems in the automobile, including the ones which keep us and our families safe on the road. And these systems architectures are rapidly changing how automotive software needs to be built.
The vision of SDV is to radically transform the automotive industry by collaboratively developing a common software platform that all participants in the automotive industry can use in an openly licensed, royalty-free manner. From an IT technology perspective this is not particularly radical. After all, open source platforms and “software defined everything” (e.g. storage, networking, data center, radio, etc.) are two of the defining trends in the IT industry over the past decade (or more). In the case of open source platforms the trend has been driven by eliminating the cost of non-differentiating software, decreasing the time to market in delivering complex systems, and reducing risk by relying on proven software platforms and components. “Software defined everything” has largely been driven by Moore’s Law and the resulting cost savings of replacing special purpose devices with general purpose computers running special purpose software.
But from an industry perspective, the technical implications of an openly licensed SDV software platform for the automotive industry are very radical. It will dramatically reshape the automotive industry similar to how software-defined networking reshaped the telecommunications industry. Free software platforms which provide a software stack for the core non-differentiating technologies will quickly lead to disruptive technical and business innovations across the value chain in any industry.
The Eclipse SDV initiative is primarily radical because it is among the first truly open industry collaborations in automotive. Historically, automotive industry groups have delivered standards or specifications available only to members of their respective consortia. Often these innovations were encumbered with FRAND-style licensing arrangements which hindered wide adoption. Eclipse SDV is going to provide a radical departure from this “business as usual” approach in automotive by focusing on open source software stacks, liberally licensed software specifications, and a community-based, collaborative approach to innovation rather than the top-down, architecture-driven, consensus-based models of the past. The mantra of Eclipse SDV is “code first”, and that is definitely a radical idea in automotive. We are humbled by the trust that Accenture, Arm, AVL, Bosch, Capgemini, Continental Automotive, DMI, ETAS, Futurewei Technologies, Karakun, Microsoft, Red Hat, Reycom, SUSE, and ZF are placing in the Eclipse Foundation to act as the steward for this exciting initiative.
I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped get this initiative off the ground and raise awareness about its value to organizations across the automotive industry.
I also want to encourage automotive industry stakeholders of all sizes and with any goals to consider joining the working group. The breadth and depth of in-vehicle software creates opportunities across every area of automotive development — from deployment, configuration, and communications to monitoring, safety, and security. If you or your organization are interested in learning more joining Eclipse SDV, please contact us.
With the Eclipse Foundation’s commitment to transparency, vendor neutrality, and a shared voice, all participants have an equal opportunity to shape the future of the SDV Working Group and play a vital role in the future evolution of the automotive industry.