With operating systems (OS) like Google Android or Apple iOS dominating the smartphone market and HTML5 and QT moving into the automotive infotainment world, an API is needed which allows to connect from any device and its OS to the actual vehicles API.
The APIs the W3C is designing will cover different domains. Of course accessing vehicle information from within or outside of the IVI unit is a must – we are talking about automotive APIs. Other areas of interest are location based services that would allow an application developer to access the vehicles navigation core, e.g. to feed destinations into it.
The discussions in the W3C automotive web platform group (https://www.w3.org/community/autowebplatform/) also brought up a REST interface approach that adds push to REST APIs. A reference implementation for a server is made public on github for everyone to play around with an contribute (https://github.com/wzr1337/rsiServer).
While REST APIs are familiar to most of the application developers from using web services nowadays, the approach is fairly uncommon but yet interesting for automotive applications. Especially added some push mechanism will allow application to listen for changes rather than polling them in. This is of course the key differentiator and yet a straight forward approach to make vehicle APIs usable for non-auto guys.
The expectation is to open up an eco system for applications similar to the mobile web APIs like GeoLocation did in recent years.