According to tech blog "The Raw Feed", a Japanese government/industry partnership is looking to develop a new in-car operating system (OS) for automotive electronics.
Looking to compete with a similar European initiative, the Japanese government is bringing Toyota (reported to be mulling its own, proprietary OS earlier this year), nine other Japanese companies and the Japanese government's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry to "create a global standard in the field."
The joint effort was spurred on by the European effort -- itself a response to the increase in both complexity and cost of in-car electronic systems. Considering the companies involved (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Denso, Toshiba and others) it's amazing to think that the present, inefficient industry standard -- in which an entirely new OS is written from scratch for every function in every new model -- actually stood for so long.
The original Toyota OS project was in line with the automaker's ongoing VI (Value Innovation) initiative. According to Wired,
Toyota reportedly intends to cut costs and speed development further by consolidating the 60-odd electronic control units found in a typical car today.
The collaborative JasPar (Japan Automotive Software Platform Architecture) project won't be prototyped until 2009 at the earliest.
It all makes you wonder why we aren't developing a competitive product here in the U.S.? It's certainly not a lack of skills, as this is indisputably the home of the most innovative and creative tech talent in the world.