If you look at photos of car interior overseas, you could most likely notice that the area where we normally have our 2-DIN sized CD players is taken up by a little computer, with navigational information as well as entertainment functions. Most of the cars in Malaysia do not have such features, as it’s pretty pointless with the lack of map data on Malaysian roads. Plus it would drive up the costs of our already expensive cars.

These navigational systems normally run on either Microsoft Windows Automotive, or a proprietary OS based on a set of specifications called uITRON. uITRON is not an OS, but a set of specifications for a small-scale industrial RTOS (Real Time Operating System).

Toyota feels that a single control system OS would be more beneficial, as it would reduce the development load between car manufacturers. It is developing a new OS in a joint effort with Nagoya Unviersity’s Center for Embedded Computing Systems. A car’s automotive computers are normally divided into two parts – the information systems OS and the control systems OS. Toyota’s efforts with Nagoya are on the information systems OS, and will be based on a Unix base.

It will use a multi-core processor for the heat reduction benefits that comes with a reduced CPU frequency, and it will have a firewall for the communication between the two operating systems. Toyota intends to allow other car manufacturers to use this operating system once it is complete, but is currently heading development to control the direction it takes.