BlackBerry creates Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center in Ottawa


Cell phone-native security software and services company BlackBerry has launched the QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center (AVIC), housed within its facility in Ottawa, Ontario, where the company will accelerate the realization of connected and self-driving vehicles.

BlackBerry QNX has been supplying mission-critical embedded software to the automotive industry for over 10 years, and its systems can be found in more than 60 million vehicles today. Millions of telematics-equipped cars on the road are using BlackBerry’s Certicom security technology for communication authentication and authorization.

Already a leading supplier of software for infotainment, acoustics, telematics and digital instrument clusters, BlackBerry QNX is extending its platform expertise into advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), connected vehicle and autonomous vehicle (CVAV) systems and secure over-the-air software update services.

Experts predict that 50% of all cars will connect to the cloud by 2020, and the wide range of ‘connected things’ could exceed 20 billion. In the coming hyper-connected world, cars will soon carry one of the highest concentrations of Internet of Things (IoT) edge nodes and sensors, generating a vast amount of valuable and actionable data. Anticipating this shift, BlackBerry is investing in key technologies and building a product portfolio that will provide the embedded intelligence that powers the core electronics of connected and autonomous cars. At the new AVIC, BlackBerry says it will be developing production-ready software independently, and in collaboration with partners in the private and public sector.

As part of this initiative, BlackBerry QNX plans to recruit and hire local software engineers to work on ongoing and emerging engineering projects for connected and autonomous cars. The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario recently approved BlackBerry QNX to test autonomous vehicles on Ontario roads as part of a pilot program. One of the center’s first projects will be supporting this pilot, as well as BlackBerry QNX’s work with the University of Waterloo, PolySync, and Renesas Electronics, to build an autonomous concept vehicle.

“Autonomous vehicles require software that is extremely sophisticated and highly secure,” explained John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry. “Our innovation track record in mobile security, and our demonstrated leadership in automotive software, make us ideally suited to dominate the market for embedded intelligence in the cars of the future.”

At the unveiling of the new AVIC project, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said, “With the opening of its innovation center in Ottawa, BlackBerry is helping to establish our country as the global leader in software and security for connected car and autonomous vehicle development. This center will create great middle-class jobs for Canadians, new opportunities for recent university graduates, and further position Canada as a global hub for innovation.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).