Linux, the open source operating system, shifted gears into a relatively new ecosystem this week with the first release of Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a Linux distribution tailored for cars in the Internet of Things age.

AGL is a collaborative project sponsored by the Linux Foundation that brings together a host of partners from the automotive industry, communications, computing hardware, academia and other sectors. The first release of the open source operating system, which appeared June 30 and is available for free online, is based on Tizen IVI, a Linux-based platform designed to provide operating system solutions for a broad range of devices, from smartphones to TVs to cars to laptops.

In its first release, AGL provides a series of features and applications tailored for deployment in cars and other vehicles, including:

  • Home Screen
  • Dashboard
  • Google Maps
  • HVAC
  • Media Playback
  • News Reader (AppCarousel)
  • Audio Controls
  • Bluetooth Phone
  • Smart Device Link Integration

The Linux Foundation and its partners participating in the AGL project hope the solution will help to ensure that the "connected" cars of the future use open source software to deliver the next generation of entertainment, navigation and other tools for use inside vehicles. "Openness and collaboration are key to accelerating the development of a common, standard automotive platform so the industry can more quickly achieve its vision of delivering the connected car," said Dan Cauchy, general manager of Automotive, The Linux Foundation.

Cauchy added that the Linux Foundation expects AGL development to continue steadily following this first release, and that collaborators hope to introduce "a number of additional capabilities and features in subsequent releases."