Subscribe to the feed

Open source has long been a force multiplier for innovation. Time and time again, operating in the open source way has proven that the power of many is stronger than the power of few. This sentiment is at the heart of everything we do at Red Hat, most notably in our collaboration with General Motors to advance software-defined vehicles at the edge, announced today by Matt Hicks, Executive VP, Products & Technologies, Red Hat, at Red Hat Summit

Today's sophisticated use cases, such as advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), pose a challenge for the development of current vehicle platforms. Lack of a modernized and consistent infrastructure means less design reuse across vehicle lines and model years, and system limitations make future software updates costly and difficult. Adopting open source software in lieu of proprietary operating systems can introduce an avenue for establishing common standards and fosters an ecosystem of Linux-savvy automotive developers. By utilizing open source software, the automotive industry can help alleviate many of these issues and as a result, modernize their strategies while meeting customers’ present-day needs. 

According to SBD Automotive1, the convergence of electrification, high-performance computing, autonomous driving, digital integration and ubiquitous connectivity now creates an opportunity for car manufacturers to enhance customer experiences and engender greater brand loyalty through novel business models, features and experiences–all primarily enabled by software.

Red Hat has been at the forefront of automotive problem solving alongside industry giants such as the Volkswagen Group, Audi and BMW, in addition to collaborating with automotive technology communities including the CentOS Automotive Special Interest Group, the Eclipse Foundation’s Software-Defined Vehicle (SDV) working group and the Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge (SOAFEE) initiative to achieve better alignment, advance technology and foster upstream innovation. Furthermore, Red Hat is pursuing functional safety certification for Linux in collaboration with exida and through our involvement in the ELISA Project

The Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System can help enable and accelerate many of the current trends in the automotive space in ways that traditional proprietary systems cannot, moving the auto industry into a more scalable way of design. The need for accelerated innovation of software-centric in-vehicle architectures has made open source, Linux-based platforms and cloud-native development even more pivotal parts of the automotive value chain. By extending Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, to the automotive industry through Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System, automakers like GM will be able to better adopt rapid innovation on an open and functionally-safe platform. 

Red Hat’s collaboration with GM and its Ultifi software platform not only exemplifies how the Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System can play a critical role in bringing the software-defined vehicle to reality, but also how safety automotive applications may be built on Linux in the future. Leaning into open source software as a vital component to the next generation of vehicles can help automakers achieve greater and faster innovation and elevate customer experience. Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System intends to support the software-defined vehicle by applying Linux to safety-critical automotive systems, accelerating development, reducing costs and creating opportunities for new services and revenue streams.  

Applying Linux to safety-critical applications in automotive 

Building, testing and certifying Linux for safety-critical systems can be challenging and difficult to maintain. This is why Red Hat is collaborating with the automotive and safety communities in pursuit of a novel continuous functional safety certification approach for the Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System.  With more automation of the safety certification steps, we expect re-certification to take only a fraction of the existing timeline.

Accelerating development 

Speed of innovation is key. Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System leverages modernized, open source toolchains and development workflow to accelerate development. With access to a broad talent pool of developers skilled in Linux, it not only makes finding talent easier and onboarding developers faster, but also can help attract more skilled technologists and innovators who previously may have been less incentivized to work on vehicle software due to proprietary systems in the automotive industry. More talent means faster innovation.   

Reducing costs

Value savings exist for automakers through optimized development, consolidation and design reuse. By extending a common safety certified Linux-based platform to the automotive industry,  more component reuse across brands and model years becomes achievable, allowing automakers to reinvest saved R&D costs to focus on building unique and personalized experiences for drivers and passengers. The open source community effort also contributes to improving the overall software quality, further reducing development and maintenance costs.

Introducing new services and revenue streams

Automakers are moving toward providing more personalized and intuitive driving experiences while becoming more embedded within a driver’s personal ecosystem. Doing so creates opportunities for additional revenue streams and improved customer loyalty. The Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System provides automakers with a common, updatable platform that enables automakers to better meet customer expectations via frequent and seamless feature upgrades and deployment of new applications and services. 

The value of Red Hat’s collaboration with automotive leaders is not confined to one product or technology innovation. As an open source leader, Red Hat has the expertise to guide and connect the automotive ecosystem with the power of open source. With Red Hat In-Vehicle Operating System, Red Hat is helping automakers drive transformation towards the new normal–the open source software-defined vehicle.


1SBD Automotive - The Software-Defined Vehicle, 2021

About the author

Francis Chow is currently VP & GM, In-vehicle Operating System and Edge at Red Hat. Previously, he spent five years at VMware and was VP, Operations, Business Development and Strategy of the Telco and Edge Cloud Business Unit. Prior to VMware, Chow spent about 20 years in the semiconductor industry in leadership roles spanning across Engineering, Corporate Development, Marketing and Sales, and was a VP/GM for a $1B P&L before venturing into the software world. Chow holds an MBA and an MSEE from University of California at Berkeley and a BSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has seven US patents.

Read full bio

Browse by channel

automation icon


The latest on IT automation for tech, teams, and environments

AI icon

Artificial intelligence

Updates on the platforms that free customers to run AI workloads anywhere

open hybrid cloud icon

Open hybrid cloud

Explore how we build a more flexible future with hybrid cloud

security icon


The latest on how we reduce risks across environments and technologies

edge icon

Edge computing

Updates on the platforms that simplify operations at the edge

Infrastructure icon


The latest on the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform

application development icon


Inside our solutions to the toughest application challenges

Original series icon

Original shows

Entertaining stories from the makers and leaders in enterprise tech