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Technology is moving at warp speed and major technology trends, such as personalization and mobile connectivity, are impacting multiple industries. Today's announcement from Arm is just one example.

It’s no secret that digital transformation happens faster in some industries, such as mobile and gaming, than others, such as automotive and manufacturing.

Faster advancements are often attributed to the adoption of a modernized infrastructure platform and cloud-native technology. At Red Hat, we see a tremendous opportunity to help the industries that have not benefited as much from digital transformation to accelerate innovation.

Driving Change at Scale

Today, complexities within the automotive industry are creating innovation speed bumps. A large number of vertically integrated subsystems with tightly coupled software and hardware not only make development and maintenance costly, but also slows down time-to-revenue. We believe the industry needs the standardization of an in-vehicle operating system running as a horizontal software platform, as the way forward to enable scalability and rapid innovation. It will help us get past the speed bumps and advance technologies at higher speed.

Cloud-Native and Open Source are the Future of Automotive

You may already be wondering "what can Red Hat, a company known for hybrid cloud and datacenter technologies, do for the automotive industry?" Well, in April, we announced ourintent to deliver a functional-safety certified Linux operating system. Even today, Red Hat can be found across the automotive industry but outside of the vehicle, like with cloud-based data processing of vehicle information, and more generally within automotive IT systems.

We believe open hybrid cloud technologies that are driven and defined by software have the potential to change the industry. We are teaming up with Arm on the Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge (“SOAFEE”) initiative as we share a similar vision that standardization of the infrastructure layer could accelerate innovation and greatly benefit the broader automotive community.

We believe this collaboration could help optimize the cost of designing and maintaining vehicles, improve developer experiences, and achieve shorter time-to-revenue for automakers. Cost reduction could come from standardization and consolidation of the tens to hundreds of embedded control units in cars today.

A more modernized platform and better toolchains can help improve developer experiences, which would also allow more talent to join this industry to drive innovation. Last but not least, with a vibrant Linux ecosystem, automakers may be able to go to market faster and unlock new business models, shortening the time-to-revenue. By adopting open source practices we can help spark innovation and give automakers greater ability to improve technologies together.

This is just the beginning of a fruitful journey. We look forward to helping SOAFEE apply Linux-based Open Source and cloud-native approaches to automotive applications. It will be a fun ride.


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.

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