BlackBerry joins Baidu to rev up autonomous vehicle technology

Joanna Estrada
January 13, 2018

On Thursday, January 4, BlackBerry and Baidu revealed details of a deal that will see them work together to develop autonomous driving technologies for automotive manufacturers and suppliers worldwide, with the former's ebbing operating system set to act as the foundation for something called the Apollo Autonomous Driving Open Platform. In return, BlackBerry will integrate Baidu's CarLife smartphone software into its BlackBerry QNX Car Infotainment platform.

"Given the importance of cameras as sensors for autonomous driving, we considered many aspects in our selection process for the Apollo platform including product roadmap, experience in automotive, and technical support for ecosystem platforms", said Mr. Zhenyu Li, VP and General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group at Baidu.

"By integrating the BlackBerry QNX OS with the Apollo platform, we will enable carmakers to leap from prototype to production systems", he said. A year later, it launched its open-source Project Apollo platform with the goal of testing it on urban roads sometime in 2018 and moving to full autonomy on highways by 2020. Much as with the Azure deal previous year, which gave the Chinese company a trusted Western partner - and potentially assuaged some of the doubts that North American or European companies might have about betting on Baidu's product - this QNX integration benefits from the OS' ISO26262 ASIL-D certification for safety. These include leading automakers, as well as tech companies including Microsoft, Nvidia, Intel and many others.

BlackBerry's QNX unit has always been a leader in building systems to run entertainment and mapping programs in cars. The division diversified into self-driving technology with the opening of an autonomous vehicle driving research center in December 2016 and 13 months months later appears to be delivering the goods.

As the leader in safety-certified, secure, and reliable software for the automobile industry, BlackBerry now provides OEMs around the world with state-of-the-art cybersecurity technology to protect and mitigate, hardware, software, applications and end-to-end systems from cyberattacks. The first list of China Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation platform was announced by the China government on November 15, 2017, and Baidu was commissioned to build a new, open innovation platform for autonomous driving as part of the country's next generation AI platform. "These advancements paired with their high-definition maps and BlackBerry's safety-critical embedded software and expertise in security will be crucial ingredients for autonomous vehicles", Wall added.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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