Competition in automotive technology has long been about who’s got the most horsepower, the best towing capacity or the fastest acceleration. These days, though, it’s all about having the slickest infotainment systems and most-connected cars.
The shift in focus from what’s under the hood to what’s behind the dashboard has brought a largely covert war to the auto industry over the operating systems that will control these gadgets. As in the smartphone biz, the battle line is between proprietary and open source software. The outcome will determine what these systems look like, how they work and how distinctive they are as automakers embrace walled gardens or open ecosystems.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of getting this right. The amount of software in the average vehicle has grown exponentially — a typical new car has about 100 million lines of code — with the advent of sophisticated, cloud-connected