Makers of automotive power-trains have traditionally written their own real time operating system (RTOS) software. These systems are responsible for much of the modern increase in engine power and emission efficiencies, controlling hundreds of motor and transmission functions including exhaust gas recirculation as well as oxygen and knock sensors. They have replaced many mechanical parts including hydraulic valves and throttle-valve cables and run antilock brakes and traction control.
As engines have grown more complex and the cost of silicon has fallen, manufacturers have begun to look to third-party coders for their software. Delphi Delco, a top supplier of engine control modules, is now buying off-the-shelf operating systems. RTOS seller Wind River also says its software is being used in several developing power-train programs. It is hoped that the turn to standardized OS products will help the car industry integrate components from various suppliers while lowering costs.
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