Pretty soon, Toyota’s in-car entertainment and communication systems might use the same base operating system kernel as your Android smart phone or the operating system of the server that runs this website.

Toyota Motor Corp has joined the Linux Foundation as a gold member – the first automaker to formally participate in the non-profit organization. A gold member is required to pay an annual fee of US$100,000. This announcement comes soon after a consumer electronics manufacturer joined the foundation as a gold member for the first time – Panasonic Corp.

“Linux gives us the flexibility and technology maturity we require to evolve our In-Vehicle-Infotainment and communications systems to address the expectations of our customers. The Linux Foundation provides us with a neutral forum in which we can collaborate with the world’s leading technology companies on open innovation that accelerates that evolution,” said Kenichi Murata, Project General Manager, Electronics Development Div. 1, Toyota Motor Corp.

Other than Linux being used in Toyota’s in-car computers soon, such is the flexibility of the operating system that Linux can even be used in Toyota’s diagnostic tools at the service center.