BlackBerry to Open an Autonomous Driving Research Center

BlackBerry has today announced the opening of an autonomous driving research center, in an effort “to make itself an indispensable under-the-hood piece” in the growing self-driving sector of the automotive industry, Reuters is reporting. The publication notes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also attend the launch of Ontario-based company’s new research center, although BlackBerry has declined to reveal any details.

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The smartphone pioneer, who is currently investing in the more profitable business of making software and managing mobile devices, will be using its subsidiary QNX’s Ottawa facility, to focus on developing advanced driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technology. The company is said to be focused on how its embedded software “interacts with the explosion of sensors, cameras and other components” required for a car to self drive.

“What QNX is doing is providing the infrastructure that allows you to build higher-level algorithms and to also acquire data from the sensors in a reliable manner,” said Sebastian Fischmeister, a University of Waterloo associate professor who has worked with QNX since 2009. “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 on Friday .

BlackBerry and the university’s research teams got the green light to test Ford Motor Co (F.N) Lincoln vehicles with autonomous features on Ontario’s public roads late last month. 

An analyst at Auto Forecast Solutions said that if BlackBerry can prove they have the whole package and the security, they could go on to dominate the autonomous driving industry.

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