Do Cars Have Operating Systems?

A self-driving car is not only an enormous, weirdly shaped computer mounted on wheels. It’s a data center comprised of networked computers executing or assigned to specific activities. But do you know Do Cars Have Operating Systems?

Naturally, these computers run an autonomous automobile operating system (OS). Let us examine which automotive operating systems are necessary for developing, deploying, and managing autonomous car software and hardware.

Cars Have Operating Systems

Why Does Operating System Used In Cars?

Complexity Is The Defining Characteristic Of Automobile Operating System Platforms In Self-Driving Cars

It isn’t easy to build an autonomous car. Developing an operating system for an autonomous vehicle is significantly more difficult. Making automobiles smarter and safer is far more complicated than building any vehicles on our streets now.

The same is valid for automobile operating systems designed for self-driving cars. Choosing an automobile operating system is critical since it must govern the vehicle’s essential functions while keeping passengers and the driving environment safe.

Developing and managing operating systems for autonomous cars need extensive expertise and massive quantities of bespoke software development and computational capacity. Each self-driving vehicle has hundreds of millions of lines of code.

Through every stage of development, self-driving technology faces obstacles. That is why autonomous vehicles have not yet been widely available. Autonomous vehicle operating systems should assist manufacturers in coping with the complexity and breadth of immediate jobs and maintenance.

Operating Systems For Self-Driving Automobiles That Are Technical Monstrosities With Several Brains

It is unsurprising, given that they are attempting to replicate the capabilities of a human brain behind the wheel. It is one of those instances when quantity is just as crucial as quality. Electronic control units (ECUs) serve as autonomous vehicles’ brains (AVs). ECUs may be compared to little computers. They differ in terms of size, function, and operating system.

Within A Vehicle, Electronic Control Units Include The Following

An autonomous vehicle is a varied and complicated environment that enables several operating systems to coexist. Furthermore, they can operate concurrently on the same hardware. An ECU controls every vehicle component, from the engine to the windshield wipers, and every vehicle function, from steering to brakes.

  • All ECUs in autonomous cars may be loosely classified into two categories:
  • ECUs that manage ADAS and vehicle activities such as steering, shifting gears, braking, and fuel usage. It may use numerous real-time operating systems to handle these ECUs (RTOS).
  • ECUs are in charge of A/V entertainment systems and the execution of many applications. These ECUs may be controlled using operating systems like those found on a personal computer. These may be real-time operating systems or general-purpose operating systems (GPOS).

Now, we’ll explore the operating systems for autonomous cars that automotive engineers like from each of these groups.

QNX Neutrino QNX Neutrino QNX Neutrino

QNX Neutrino is a renowned leader in autonomous vehicle operating systems. QNX Neutrino is a real-time operating system for automobiles used by manufacturers to ensure that all procedures and activities are completed successfully and safely.

Along with its automotive operating system, QNX Software Systems, a BlackBerry subsidiary, develops sophisticated automotive development platforms, operates autonomous vehicle innovation centers, and provides specialized teams (like Ford does) to extend the QNX Neutrino OS and provide additional services.

BlackBerry’s QNX division claims to be developing a connected automobile operating system in addition to safe, scalable, and trustworthy software solutions that will allow the future of linked and autonomous vehicles.

To demonstrate this, the business is investing extensively in new automated control systems for driverless and semi-driverless cars and new safety and security systems, and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technologies. The following automotive brands use it: QNX Neutrino has already partnered with around 40 automobile manufacturers, including Ford, Acura, Volkswagen, BMW, and Audi.

VxWorks By WindRiver

VxWorks is a real-time vehicle operating system (OS) that complies with ISO 26262 safety standards. Wind River, the company that created it, is a worldwide developer of IoT software for safety-critical areas such as automobiles.

This vehicle operating system enables automakers and original equipment manufacturers to implement autonomous safe, secure, and dependable platforms. Toshiba, Bosch, BMW, Ford, and Volkswagen are just a few automotive companies that employ it.

INTEGRITY® – Green Hills

This real-time operating system for automobiles is included in the Green Hills Platform for ADAS, a turnkey solution for developing the software components of safe, high-performance, and scalable ADAS systems.

Green Hills asserts that production-grade electronic control units powered by the INTEGRITY vehicle operating system will simplify the development and testing of mission-critical autonomous vehicle applications.

The following automotive brands use it: Green Hills primarily operates through partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1/Tier 2 providers.

NVIDIA DriveWorks Operating System

While NVIDIA is not the market leader in car operating systems, we cannot overlook the involvement of chip makers whose GPUs serve as the primary processing engines in many autonomous vehicles. NVIDIA unveiled DriveWorks Alpha 1, a self-driving vehicle operating system, in 2016.

While it did not create a sensation in the automotive market, fresh breakthroughs in the context of this scalable AI platform for autonomous driving arise virtually monthly. NVIDIA DRIVE is more than an automobile operating system: it’s a massive platform with goods and services that will undoubtedly satisfy OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers.

The following automotive brands use it: DriveWorks is utilized by 370 automobile manufacturers, Tier 1 suppliers, developers, and researchers worldwide, including Tesla, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Veoneer, and Bosch.

Android Automotive Operating System

Google is not skimping on resources to lead the way in controlling autonomous car infotainment systems. The tech giant intends to use an expanded Android Autorun, which is now only compatible with Android smartphones.

This connected automobile operating system, shown on the infotainment display, enables access to the Google Play ecosystem and connects to system-level functions through an upgraded Google Assistant. Additionally, the system is adjustable, making it more enticing to manufacturers and end-users.

Volvo and Audi have inked arrangements with Google to utilize an improved version of its vehicle operating system in 2020. They are followed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, collaborating with Google to integrate the Android automotive operating system into future automobiles.

CarPlay Is An Apple Feature

If you hear about Google developing a new service, keep an eye out for Apple (and vice versa). While it’s difficult to characterize Apple’s infotainment offering as a full-fledged connected vehicle operating system, the company does have one card up its sleeve: a so-called “secret” self-driving project codenamed Titan.

What is not a secret is that Apple is also creating its operating system for driverless vehicles. All we have to do is wait and watch how far they expand the current CarPlay version. The following automobile manufacturers use it: Apple CarPlay is now available as a standard or optional feature in a wide variety of automobiles from over 30 manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Honda, Mazda, and Mercedes-Benz.

RS (Robotic Operating System)

Do not be fooled by the name: The Robotic Operating System is not an operating system in the conventional sense. It is an open-source software platform and a collection of programming tools for robotics.

A self-driving car comprises several electronic control units (ECUs) that perform distinct duties but should interact and be operated as a unified system. That is when ROS comes in handy. It runs on an entirely distributed computing model, which means that several computers may participate in control activities while acting as a single entity.

The primary impediment to widespread ROS implementation in the automobile sector is security. Without a security mechanism to prevent other parties from infiltrating the ROS network, individuals would never choose to entrust this open platform with their lives. And automobile manufacturers are well aware of this. It is used by the following automotive manufacturers: General Motors, BMW, Ford, and Bosch.

Two Possible Methods To Automobile Operating Systems For Automakers And OEMs To Consider

Because the period of widespread adoption of self-driving vehicle operating systems has not yet come, automakers have time to choose the most reasonable approach to automotive OS development. Typically, the debate revolves around the matter of proprietary vs open-source software.

Businesses must decide whether to continue developing their own proprietary operating systems or adopt a standard operating system that can utilize across several manufacturers and models. Compatibility with multiple operating systems, confidentiality agreements, and standardization are all challenges associated with the first approach.

The situation may deteriorate further if non-automobile businesses continue to expand their presence in the automotive sector. They will undoubtedly react to market demand for solutions such as augmented and virtual reality, virtual assistants, artificial intelligence services, and 3D mapping goods, among others.

The second alternative seems more plausible, particularly for OEMs, who sometimes lack the internal ability to design their operating systems. While cooperation and collaboration are appropriate for OEMs, they represent a significant culture change in such a competitive business as automotive.

Manufacturers have spent decades attempting to control their trademarks and technology, and changing that will not be simple. Numerous reasons for this include safety and security concerns. Whichever path automakers and OEMs choose, their choice will determine the future of automotive software development, and we hope for the best.


That’s all we have on Do Cars Have Operating Systems? Yes, the car operating systems market is far from established. However, it is expanding and becoming stronger. The automobile industry has received significant financial and technological investments to create connected car operating systems (the first automotive operating systems) and autonomous vehicle operating systems platforms.

The industry’s competition is heating: IT giants, OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and startups are all vying to design the operating system for the future automobile.

To succeed in this emerging but promising business of autonomous driving, you must choose the appropriate operating system and software architecture for autonomous vehicles in collaboration with a capable technology partner a partner like Intellias, which Visiongain named one of the top connected car value chain companies to watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What operating system does the automobile utilize?

Android Automotive may be used as an open-source operating system without the Google Automotive Services (GAS), a collection of apps and services (Google Maps, Google Play, Google Assistant, and others) that OEMs can license and incorporate into their in-vehicle entertainment systems.

Tesla runs on what operating system?

Tesla’s car operating system is based on a customized version of the Linux distribution Ubuntu. Musk has said that Tesla intends to update the Linux operating system in Tesla cars to 4.4 in December. That is the time frame in which he anticipates they will upgrade the browser.

Who develops automobile operating systems?

In light of these improvements, the European automotive operating systems market will account for 25% of the whole industry by 2027. Vehicle Grade Linux, BlackBerry Limited, Google Android, Green Hills Software, Mercedes-Benz, and Microsoft Corporation are some of the key automotive operating system industry companies.

Are automobiles equipped with an operating system?

At the very least, the following operating systems are available in automobiles: Windows, Windows Embedded Automotive 7, is used in Ford and Nissan Leaf In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems; Linux, Automotive Grade Linux Platform, is used by Toyota; and QNX or AUTOSAR environments.

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