Ford to use Blackberry QNX software in autonomous cars

The automaker will have a dedicated Blackberry QNX team of 300 people

Ford Motor Co. has inked a deal for expanded use of BlackBerry's QNX and security software, which will ultimately allow the automaker to provide connected vehicles and secure mobile platforms for its customers. As part of the agreement, BlackBerry will dedicate a team to work with Ford on expanding the use of BlackBerry's QNX Neutrino Operating System, Certicom security technology, QNX hypervisor and QNX audio processing software.

The terms of the deal are confidential, a spokesperson said.

connected cars autonomous vehicles NHTSA

Earlier this year, Ford announced it was dropping Microsoft as the platform for its SYNC infotainment system and adopting QNX instead. Ford's new SYNC 3, using QNX, was rolled out in 2017 vehicles this past summer.

Blackberry's new deal with Ford will see its QNX software used more extensively.

"The future of the automobile is all about embedded intelligence. I believe our expertise in secure embedded software makes us the preferred technology provider to put the smart in the car," John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, said in a statement.

In August, Ford announced that it intended to begin mass producing fully self-driving cars within five years.

uber self driving Ford autonomous Uber

An Uber autonomous car prototype in Pittsburgh.

"It's now clear that the next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile. In fact, we see autonomous vehicles as having as big an impact on society as Ford's moving assembly line did a hundred years ago," Ford CEO Mark Fields said earlier this year at a news conference held at the company's Palo Alto, Calif. research facility.

John Wall, BlackBerry's head of QNX Software Systems, said Blackberry's long history in producing embedded software for automobiles will help Ford secure its vehicles against hacks as connectivity to the Internet grows throughout the fleet.

"Underlying what you see on your car's dashboard are the fundamental building blocks for the modules in cars that can control an automobile," Wall said in a blog. "In fact, our [advanced driver assist system] platform is the only one available today that is ASIL-D certified, meaning it is the only one ready today for carmakers to create autonomous car driving systems on top of it."

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