Open Enablement Teaches You How to Build an AliOS Ecosystem

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By Banma Team

Ecologicalization is an important way for the vehicle-mounted operating system to move towards the market-oriented operation. Symbolizing the maturity of the vehicle-mounted operating system, a healthy and orderly ecosystem boosts win-win cooperation. Due to the complexity of the automobile industry chain, the ecosystem of the vehicle-mounted operating system covers many members, such as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and their suppliers, chip manufacturers, independent software vendors, and content and service providers.

By defining standards at different layers, strengthening the system framework, improving the tools system, and consolidating the core services, AliOS has made remarkable achievements in the ecosystem construction.

At the chip layer, based on vehicle-mounted system-on-chip (SOC) devices, AliOS has produced nearly one million AliOS-powered in-vehicle infotainment systems by cooperating with well-known chip manufacturers, including Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, NXP, MediaTek, Renesas, and Intel.

At the system framework layer, AliOS can flexibly integrate with the voice-related algorithms of Alibaba DAMO Academy, Tmall Genie, and the leading voice service providers, such as iFLYTEK, AI Speech, and Nuance, by developing the voice interaction framework as a plug-in. By doing so, AliOS wishes to create products with an excellent interactive experience.

In the layer of application and service, AliOS has formed a vast ecosystem that covers users’ main demands during the driving process through its self-defined CloudApp application standards and Alipay applet standards for vehicles. The ecosystem of AliOS integrates map service providers, such as AMAP and Mxnavi, and audio-visual service providers, such as Xiami, Koowo, Ximalaya, and Kuaishou. Also, it supports local life services, such as Alipay, Eleme, and Taopiaopiao, social services, such as DingTalk, and traveling services for parking and charging.

Based on the above cooperation and product-oriented experience at all layers, AliOS has also developed a wealth of tools, processes, and standards, and gradually evolved from an end-to-end single cooperation mode to an open ecological cooperation mode. This will further promote the growth of the AliOS ecosystem and allow all players from the industry chain to earn profits from the open AliOS.

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As the core strategic method of ecological construction, the open architecture of AliOS at different layers defines the main open content of and open objects of the AliOS. From bottom to top, the following shows the details:

1. Hardware/Vehicle Type Adaptation Capabilities:

For chip manufacturers and OEMs, we provide the toolkit needed for adapting chips and vehicle types. The toolkit covers the definition of Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and Vehicle Hardware Abstraction Layer (VHAL), interface tests, and reference codes to help manufacturers complete the implementation and test verification of the HAL/VHAL interface. The verified HAL/VHAL interface implementation can be integrated into the AliOS system and delivered to the OEMs for product development. In addition to traditional SOC hardware adaptation and vehicle signal adaptation, AliOS also provides standardized access methods to the AI accelerator chip of the neural network algorithms by hiding the impact of underlying hardware differences on the development of upper-layer algorithm applications.

2. Open System Customization Capabilities:

Oriented to product definitions or developers, we provide standardized approaches to customized AliOS system development, including documentation of customizable items, customization schemes, configuration files, and source code that must be changed in customization. By system customization, for example, implementing plug-ins for components at the system layer, products are more scalable and diverse. For example, through voice customization, the AliOS system can integrate algorithm products from different voice service providers.

Scenario engines are important components in the AliOS system that collect system status, integrate perception results, and understand user intentions. The computing results provided by the scenario engine can be used to enhance interaction or actively recommend services. AliOS offers scenario engine customization. Users can customize the content and output results calculated by the scene engine based on the computing power and sensor capabilities of the chip.

Another important open capability of system customization is to provide customization and combination suggestions of various system parameters for the SOC chip platform, which contains diverse computing power and storage capacities. For example, for large-memory and small-memory devices, the recommended compilation options are different. In addition, system customizers can also develop new system services or middleware to manage or connect specific vehicle-mounted or external hardware, such as cellphone screen projection.

3. Open Product Capabilities:

The core product capabilities are multiple cloud-device integrated capabilities created by Banma based on AliOS, such as map service, voice service, sensing service, payment service, communication service, and scenario engine. These product capabilities have been integrated with the service capabilities of Alibaba Cloud or eco-partners. They are also open to OEMs or partners, such as Tier 1. Developers can obtain the core product capabilities by accessing the Banma open platform to build intelligent in-vehicle infotainment systems or intelligent cockpits more efficiently. OEMs are entitled to select and integrate the core product capabilities according to their own needs.

4. Application Development:

AliOS defined CloudApp as its native application form. It provides the CloudAppFramework SDK as the standardized SDK for developing CloudApp and distributes SDK through MagicCode, a developer tool of AliOS. The CloudAppFramework SDK provides TypeScript-based programming interfaces. Application developers can use TypeScript or JavaScript to develop CloudApp. In addition, AliOS also provides NDK, which offers some system capabilities to application developers through the C interface. The maturity and usability of the CloudAppFramework SDK, NDK, and developer tools will affect the development of the AliOS application ecosystem to a large extent. Therefore, it is also one of the core tasks of AliOS’s ecological construction.

5. Applet Development:

Integrated with the Alipay applet framework, the AliOS system formed an AliOS applet for vehicles. Applet developers can develop applets for AliOS through the development tools and release forms provided by Alipay. Then, these applets are available on the Alipay platform. AliOS-based vehicle-mounted applets can reach users through a variety of methods, such as the main user interface, voices, maps, and active push services.

6. Application Customization:

Application customization is oriented to the OEMs and Tier 1. We distribute the source code or SDK of AliOS-based applications developed by Banma to the OEMs and Tier 1 to shorten their time span of application development by utilizing previous research results.

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In hardware adaptation, system customization, service access, and application development, AliOS serves partners with various open capabilities and forms a service ecosystem, application ecosystem, and hardware ecosystem step-by-step. Open cooperation is inevitably related to laying down standards and conventions. Of course, the goal of openness is not to formulate standards, but to reduce the fragmentation of the AliOS system as much as possible with an aim for mutual benefit and win-win results. As a result, R&D costs on AliOS-based products of OEMs and Tier 1 will be reduced, and the accessibility of three-party services will be improved.

At the implementation layer, AliOS will open its capabilities and truly serve its partners through the three camps: AliOS open platform, developer platform, and developer training.

AliOS Open Platform

AliOS open platform provides an all-in-one service for applet developers. On the platform, they are allowed to design, develop, and release their applets quickly. In addition, for application or vehicle-mounted applet developers, the platform will gradually open up Banma map service, voice service, and other third-party ecological services.

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AliOS vehicle-mounted applets integrate the developer ecosystem of Alibaba Group based on the “one cloud and multiple terminals” foundation of the Alibaba applet ecosystem. It is a high-quality service capability specifically designed for the driving experience. Based on the framework capabilities of Alipay applets, applets can be quickly installed on vehicle-mounted devices. Combined with many vehicle-mounted capabilities, the service capability can integrate with vehicle-mounted systems perfectly and provide colorful car life services for users. Currently, AliOS vehicle-mounted applets have built a rich ecosystem of applet services covering vehicle owners’ service, living service, traveling service, audio-visual entertainment, media information, and many other services. While creating a rich, intelligent service ecosystem for users, it also provides more possibilities for automobile enterprises and ecological service providers.

Based on the multi-round interaction capability, vehicle-mounted applets can realize car life services, such as multi-terminal connection, hardware control, scenario-driven, and service-finding to create a “benchmark experience of vehicle-mounted services.”

AliOS Developer Platform

AliOS developer platform provides all-in-one development support for the AliOS system and application developers. On the platform, developers can develop applications, adapt hardware and vehicle types, and customize systems. The content on the platform is currently only available to partners but will gradually open in the future.

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AliOS defined CloudApp as its native application form. The commonly used vehicle-mounted applications, such as map navigation, Bluetooth, multimedia, radio, air conditioning, and vehicle control, already have their CloudApp versions. The CloudApp versions of AR navigation for driving assistance, driver monitoring, and other applications are also available. The application framework that supports CloudApp has become increasingly mature after years of improvement and will evolve with the development of application scenarios, such as human-machine interaction and human-machine driving. Currently, CloudApp SDK, NDK, development testing, and other tools needed for application development can be downloaded from the developer platform.

AliOS Developer Training

In addition to providing AliOS-based product development capabilities to eco-partners through the open platform and developer platform, we are also actively implementing the AliOS developer training program. In cooperation with Taobao University, we intend to provide a full set of AliOS development training to OEMs, Tier 1, universities, and other partners.

Looking into the future, Banma, together with the AliOS open platform and developer platform, will continue to open up its capabilities through training and other methods to support the development of three ecosystems: service, application, and hardware. With the main goal of serving the OEMs and the open concept of win-win cooperation, we will build a prosperous AliOS ecosystem.

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