BlackBerry is no longer shackled by its hardware division, and it is making the most of this by opening a new facility to develop autonomous vehicle technology. The Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre is an extension of BlackBerry’s QNX work, which is currently present on a large amount of cars.
The AVIC, now located in BlackBerry’s native Ontario Canada, will extend the work of the QNX team to include ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems), CVAV (Connected Vehicle and Autonomous Vehicle) systems and secure Over the Air Software Update services. It also looks like the company will be giving these systems a greater focus on security, as it tries to build on its reputation for secure systems.
BlackBerry says that this move towards vehicular systems is to get ahead of the Internet-of-Things, especially where it concerns cars. According to the company, our cars will have the largest concentration of sensors and edges nodes; and will generate huge amounts of valuable data.
This data will undoubtedly become extremely valuable for technology companies, and BlackBerry isn’t the only one to be looking in this direction. Both Google and Apple have already been exploring vehicular technology; although Apple has not officially announced anything this far.
Working in BlackBerry’s favour is the fact that it already has years of experience in this space. The QNX automotive operating system is widely used in car infotainment systems today, giving BlackBerry a lot more data to work with than any of its rivals. A difference that could help it in dealing with car manufacturers.
BlackBerry has also received permission to begin testing its own autonomous vehicles in Ontario, although it hasn’t announced as to when the pilot programme will begin.