Open Source in the Automotive Industry

24 March 2020

Author: Astor Nummelin Carlberg

After lunch at our pre-FOSDEM policy meeting on 31 January, a high level panel on Open Source in the Automotive Industry provided an important discussion on what a European Digital Transformation in the Open looks like. It was key-noted by Vice-President of the European Parliament Marcel Kolaja, who provided the political context and underscored the vast potential that Open Source holds to unleash manufacturing innovation in Europe.

Moderated by James Lovegrove, Red Hat (OFE Open Source Task Force co-chair), the panel provided an overview of the enterprise level collaboration evident throughout the entire software supply chain for the manufacturing industry, as it consisted of:

  • Helio Chissini de Castro, Senior Software Engineer, BMW,
  • Lars Geyer-Blaumeiser, Senior Expert Open Source Software, Bosch,
  • Mike Linksvayer, Director, Policy, GitHub,
  • Deb Bryant, Senior Director, Red Hat, and
  • Mike Milinkovic, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation.

There were a few take-aways from the panel:

(i) like with any sector, an Open Source strategy is an essential part in accelerating European innovation in the automotive sector; (ii) critical in this strategy is not only complying with the well established definition of Open Source but also understanding the collaborative community and embracing a wide range of important characteristics from up-stream contribution to using Open Source methodologies such as DevSecOps; (iii) Open Source Software is at the heart of innovative applications for Industry 4.0 creating state-of-the-art innovative ecosystems between small companies, large industrial firms, public sector and universities. The automotive industry is an important case study in this context.

Only an Open Source approach to innovation can truly unlock Europe’s potential to address the big challenges facing citizens, companies and policy makers.