BlackBerry Opens Autonomous Vehicle Hub
BlackBerry is largely ditching the smartphone market. Once the SMS company to be reckoned with, the Canadian technology company is now reinventing itself. What BlackBerry is now focusing on is integrated technology in the form of autonomous vehicle tech. The Waterloo company is officially opening an autonomous driving research center in Canada today.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend the opening of the research center. But what does a former smartphone company have to do (or want to do) with autonomous driving? Essentially, BlackBerry wants to be an indispensable part of the autonomous driving movement.
Integration is Key
BlackBerry will be expanding subsidiary QNX’s Ottawa facility (which is, in part, why the Prime Minister will attend the opening). BlackBerry’s research center will focus on how the company’s embedded software will react and interact with sensors, cameras, and other technology required when it comes to autonomous cars.
Why haven’t we heard of BlackBerry in connection with autonomous vehicles until now? The company isn’t dropping Silicon Valley dollars into the technology - mostly because BlackBerry won’t really be front and center when it come to this type of tech. Instead, QNX technology will be something of companion tech for the existing autonomous vehicle tech.
Lincolns Tested First
At present, QNX provides technology for infotainment systems and telematic systems inside of millions of vehicles. The new push would integrate the technology further, helping other car companies aside from the likes of Tesla (and other high end autonomous brands) catch up with the autonomous or robotic driving market.
Since QNX is already well integrated into the robot car market, BlackBerry does stand a very good chance of becoming an integral part of the autonomous driving market. Last month, BlackBerry was green-lighted by the Canadian government to test autonomous Lincoln cars on Ontario roads.
While this news was somewhat downplayed by the media, the fact that BlackBerry is sinking a lot of money into this market (and that the government is behind the company) means that autonomous vehicles are progressing at a fast pace.
The Security Race
The biggest concern for automobile makers when it comes to autonomous vehicles is safety and security. Software companies that attempt to enter or dominate this market have to offer both safety and security in order to win over car manufacturers.
BlackBerry has some competition from the likes of Intel and other companies that can also offer security. Since its inception, BlackBerry has been well known for secure software - in fact, that was the company’s claim to fame when it came to the original BlackBerry phone.
The Canadian company can wedge itself well into the market if security can be offered at a good price and if BlackBerry’s security can beat what Intel is offering. It will be a tough fight for the Canadian company, but BlackBerry has fought the big American tech companies before (and largely won).
Stay tuned for more news about the smartphone company that once was - but, really, BlackBerry has always been a software security company in disguise.