What should open source do in a car?

What should open source be doing in a car? What would you do that Sync isn't doing now? How should an open source community focused on automotive features be managed? And what features should be off-limits to the open source community?

C|NET's own Antuan Goodwin revealed yesterday Ford is looking to build an open source platform for its Sync services, its in-vehicle informatics interface. (Picture from C|NET.)

According to Ford's Syncmyride.com Web site, Sync already does things like enable hands-free cell calls, voice-activated playing of your favorite MP3s, and turn-by-turn navigation. On the site Sync is co-branded with Microsoft.

The software can be updated, so when new features emerge, like the ability to create a Vehicle Health Report or call 911 automatically, all Sync users can get an update.  Sync has been available since the 2008 model year on a growing number of cars, which now include mid-priced models like the Taurus and Focus as well as pricier models like the Mustang and the Explorer.

Reading between the lines of Antuan's story, however,  it seemed Ford is a little nervous about this open source idea. The near-death experience of the last few years makes the unthinkable thinkable, but maybe when it comes to open source Ford executives this morning are saying something like, "What were we thinking?"

To me, this looks like a job for the open source community. You, in other words.

What should open source be doing in a car? What would you do that Sync isn't doing now? How should an open source community focused on automotive features be managed? And what features should be off-limits to the open source community?

Have a good weekend. Take a drive.

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