The fast growth will allow Linux to overtake its top competitors Microsoft (in 2017) and QNX from BlackBerry (in 2020).
“The market for automotive infotainment operating systems represents a major opportunity for software vendors, with platform sales climbing to nearly 130 million units in 2020—about the size of the global PC market in 1999,” said Egil Juliussen, research director for IHS Automotive.
“Growth is being driven by the multiplicity of platforms in many cars, with a single auto potentially having one OS for the head unit and navigation, another for the telematics system and hands-free interface for mobile phones, and yet another for the rear-seat entertainment system. Over the long term, Linux will take the lead in this burgeoning market, as auto manufacturers and their suppliers are attracted by the advantages of the OS.”
GM is currently the volume leader in Linux shipments, with most Cadillac models now using the OS in their CUE system. Similar Linux-based head units are also arriving or will be deployed on Buick, GMC, Chevrolet and Opel models.
For their part, BMW, PSA and Jaguar/Land Rover are committed to using a version of Linux that is compatible with the GENIVI platform.
GENIVI is an industry group founded to drive adoption of an open-source development platform for infotainment. The group’s platform consists of Linux-based core services, middleware, and open application layer interfaces.
While there are many flavors of Linux, IHS expects the GENIVI version to lead the market given the large number of automakers committed to using the platform.
QNX & Microsoft
QNX is today the undisputed market leader in the automotive infotainment OS market with 53 percent share of units in 2013. However, IHS expects it will “cede share to Linux in the coming years because of stronger competitors and uncertainty surrounding its parent firm, BlackBerry.“