With the electric auto trend, the world’s leading countries are competing to create an operating system (OS) for smart cars. However, Korea lags far behind those countries in related research. Thus, it is necessary for the nation to address the problem.
According to industry sources on Feb. 10, the world’s biggest vehicle manufacturing nations such as the US, Japan, and Germany have been actively involved in the development of operating systems and standards for next-gen smart cars.
To be specific, Robert Bosch GmbH, the largest auto parts supplier based in Germany, created Open Systems and their Interfaces for the Electronics in Motor Vehicles (OSEK) in 1993, together with other European auto manufacturers. OSEK was established to provide a standard software architecture for the various electronic control units (ECUs) throughout a car, which has continued to be improved. The OSEK standard occupies around 70 percent of the auto OS market.
In the US, Microsoft made Sync, an auto-embedded OS, in partnership with automaker Ford. The giant software company is aggressively seeking to promote its OS by opening an app store for Sync, and making continuous efforts for the auto OS based on its influence in the PC market.
In Japan, Nagoya University developed the Automotive Kernel Version 2 series (ATK2), a real-time operating system for automotive system control, in collaboration with local auto manufacturers and auto parts suppliers. ATK2 is aimed at efficiently controlling each auto function with less memory.
Governments in other countries are providing support for the OS for cars, but there is not enough research in the nation. The Korean government’s long-term policy is crucial for the auto industry, since 20,000 auto parts are used, and it is a high value-added industry.
An industry source said, “The reason for the growing importance of OSs in the auto industry lies in an increase in complexity. For example, the number of built-in electronic devices in the car has been growing. And the functions of safety, convenience, and communication have been all integrated.” The source added, “In particular, the Japanese government has supported auto manufacturers and auto parts makers to create a consortium aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of the local auto industry. Tokyo has also come up with various measures, including government-commissioned projects. Hence, the Korean government should cooperate with the auto industry to respond to this move.”
Meanwhile, the auto industry anticipates that a car will be fitted with semiconductors worth US$500 next year, an increase of US$210 from 2010. The 2015 estimate is up 40 percent from that projected in 2010 (US$350).