open source.automotiveIT

The use of open-source software in the car is increasing (Photo: Continental)

The auto industry should better manage its use of free and open source software (FOSS), according to a recently published study by consultants BearingPoint.

The industry is a big user of open source software, which is relatively inexpensive, easy to customize and doesn't lock a company into one particular vendor. But according to a BearingPoint survey of carmakers, suppliers and automotive software developers, a majority of companies has no structured way to ensure compliance and automated control of FOSS deployments.

Only a third of all automotive companies perform supplier audits and less than 25 pc require a FOSS bill of materials from suppliers, according to the survey. Even fewer companies check for FOSS licence compliance across their software supply chains, BearingPoint found.

Software's growing importance to the car industry underlines the importance of properly managing all systems. The industry "must adopt and embrace policies and processes to manage FOSS with the same rigor and commitment as it did for Lean Manufacturing and ISO-9000 best practices with traditional auto supply chains," said Tim Yeaton, CEO of Black Duck Software, a FOSS service provider and the sponsor of the study.

Today's premium cars run software that frequently has more than 100 million lines of code. Most of this software is used in telematics and infotainment systems. BearingPoint noted that infotainment systems in particular are increasingly developed on open-source platforms such as GENIVI and Google's Android.

GENIVI is an auto industry association that drives the adoption of an open-source infotainment architecture.