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The Auto OS

By Steve Jones,

Those of you who have followed SQLServerCentral for a long time know that I like cars. I used to do car updates periodically, and still get in car debates on times over Twitter. I love my cars, and despite the age of a few of them, they're all doing well. My Prius still gets 47-50 mpg (depending on weather) and it's proven itself to be a great investment. It's even paid off, and as gas prices rise, I use it more and more.

For much of automotive history, the advancements have taken place under the hood or in the mechanical systems of the car. Computers have been a part of design and even operation for a long time, but primarily to keep the mechanical systems operating at a high efficiency. The interactions with drivers have mostly  come from entertainment or climate systems.

That changed a little with the introduction of navigation systems, that allow a driver to spend less time finding destinations and concentrate on driving. I know that hybrids that surface efficiency information to the driver have changed the way I drive, even when I'm in another car. I suspect the same is true for many people that purchased cars with the idea they would save money on fuel. I suspect in the future we will get more interactions with cars in new ways, perhaps even in ways we hadn't considered before.

Cars are becoming more complex, and many have their own OSes inside. This might be the next OS war, after the mobile phone competitions that are ongoing between iOS, Android, and Window Phone. I suspect that these two are closely intertwined as I think integration between a mobile vehicle and a mobile phone is essential and I hope there are good APIs and standards that allow any phone to work with any car.

Data integrity and security will become more important in the mobile platforms as we use them for more services. I hope that companies are paying attention to these issues, and ensuring they not only hire great developers and software engineers, but also good data professionals to help them build their systems. I suspect that isn't the case, but perhaps a few of you will find jobs in the automotive industry and become strong advocates for data security.

Steve Jones


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