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Red Hat Linux is coming to your Vette and Caddy Escalade

2011 cadillac dts sedan grille wide

Linux has long played a role in cars. Some companies, such as Tesla, run their own homebrew Linux distributions. Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Toyota all rely on Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). AGL is a cross-industry collaborative effort developing an open platform for connected cars with over 140 members. Red Hat and GM are leveraging these efforts to build a new generation of smart cars using Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as the operating system.

To do this, it will use a subset of RHEL 9 to power Ultifi, GM’s end-to-end software platform. The goal is to eventually create a smart car that incorporates all the capabilities of your smartphone and more. Like Tesla, GM cars powered by Ultifi will frequently update their software-defined features online.

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If that sounds strange to you, well, say hello to the 2020s. As Red Hat CTO Chris Wright said at the Red Hat Summit: “A little over a decade ago, Marc Andreessen pointed out software was eating our business. We can update his quote to be more specific: “Software has business.'” So GM, founded in 1908, is now a software company. While gearheads will care more about the latest Chevrolet V8 6 engines, 2 L* fifth-generation small-block, new car software features will make the difference for most drivers.

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At first, the fundamental changes will be invisible to drivers. With the integration of the Red Hat embedded operating system into the Ultifi platform, the first changes will be:

  • Reduced costs by consolidating and reusing software on a common platform.
  • Improved development cycle for faster time to market with new client features and software enhancements.
  • Continuing functional safety certification for systems related to safety applications.
  • Creating new services, business models and revenue streams.
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Ultifi will launch in 2023. That means you’ll see Red Hat Linux-powered cars in the 2024 model year. You can expect the first improvements to be Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). It is not self-driving car technology. Instead, it will bring safety enhancements to systems like pedestrian detection/avoidance, lane departure warning/correction, automatic emergency braking and blind-spot detection.

Linux has always been one of the most secure operating systems for end users. Now it’s on its way to a safer driver OS.

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