Following its decision to exit the smartphone hardware business and focus on software, Blackberry today opened a new research and development center in Ottawa, Canada. The facility is dedicated to the development of autonomous driving software. According to Reuters, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the launch.
The facility is being run by Blackberry subsidiary QNX, which makes advanced driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technology used by car makers worldwide.
Blackberry is researching interactions between its QNX embedded software and various sensors, cameras and other components required for a car to drive itself. They also provide the infrastructure that third-parties can build upon to acquire data from in-car sensors in a reliable manner.
“Our play in this is that we provide the software foundation for these high-performance compute platforms,” QNX head John Wall said in an interview last Friday.
BlackBerry recently cut a deal with Ford to help get fleets of robot ride-sharing vehicles to market by 2021.
Additionally, BlackBerry has been testing Ford Lincoln vehicles with autonomous features on Ontario’s public roads. The firm is reportedly in advanced discussions with “more than one or two” other major global automakers about similar partnerships.
QNX software currently powers infotainment and telematics systems in millions of cars.
Apple’s own CarPlay in-car system is reportedly based on QNX. As for Apple’s own efforts to build an electric vehicle, internally code-named Project Titan, those plans were abandoned in favor of autonomous driving software, Bloomberg said in October.
Photo: BlackBerry QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.