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BlackBerry QNX software is in 195 million vehicles and BlackBerry is taking the lead in automotive software platforms to empower automakers, connected vehicles and smart cities. Grant Courville, Vice President of Product and Strategy at BlackBerry, talks with Auto Futures about how BlackBerry is innovating in the automotive and mobility spaces.

Why do Automakers Use BlackBerry QNX?

“Anywhere there is complexity, criticality and the absolute need for ultra-reliability is where Blackberry QNX can be found. That is where we excel. It’s the culture of the company, the processes, the people and the community that make it all work together,” says Courville.

“With our safety certification, we gain our customers’ trust and they continue to trust us,” he adds. 

Blackberry QNX software can be found in medical equipment, robotics and in automotive. Not just in infotainment but in more parts of the vehicle such as ADAS software is critical, says Courville. BlackBerry QNX is also found in commercial transport, Volvo Trucks is using the BlackBerry QNX OS and hypervisor in its Volvo Dynamic Software Platform

“In vehicles, the software has to be safe, secure and reliable and QNX offers multiple components to be able to do that infrastructure, gateways, battery management, chassis software and more. As mobility is getting more intelligent, safety, security and reliability play into the value proposition for our customers. We’re proud to be in over 195 million vehicles,” he explains.

BlackBerry QNX solutions include QNX OS for Safety, QNX Hypervisor for Safety and QNX Black Channel Communications Technology, and BlackBerry Safety and Security services. BlackBerry Jarvis offers supply chain analysis. BlackBerry Cylance is a suite of machine learning and artificial intelligence-based cybersecurity products.

The company operates the BlackBerry QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre (AVIC) in Kanata, near Ottawa. It is where the QNX engineers work on autonomous vehicle concept cars. Blackberry is also the founding partner in the connected and autonomous test site Area X.O, in Ottawa.

Ottawa allows testing in a four-season climate with temperatures from -39 to +39 degrees Celsius (-102 to +102 degrees Fahrenheit).


How is IVY Growing Connecting, Clouds, Cities, OEMs and Data?

The latest BlackBerry innovation is a collaboration with Amazon AWS. Amazon is the largest cloud provider and chose to work with BlackBerry on the cloud-connected secure Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform, IVY.

“Amazon chose us to provide a solution that could be scalable, world-class and also compatible. We are a company that can take on the challenge,” says Courville.

The reason why smartphones work so well is that there are only two platforms. Smartphones run either Android or iOS, each with a common API.  Currently, different OEMs and smart cities do not have a common interface, API or platform to communicate data.

BlackBerry designed IVY to work with not only BlackBerry QNX but other automotive operating systems and cloud platforms. Plus, IVY is hardware agnostic.

“There is an opportunity to build a digital ecosystem. IVY will add value and monetize as well as offer operational savings,” he says.

Today the company has a proof of concept and is on track for a Q1 2022, 1.0 launch.

Using IVY data smart cities can gain insight into when it is raining (the wiper blades on), potholes and traffic management. The IVY software will be valuable for communities. It also enables different apps to be developed that are safe and secure, says Courville.

IVY leads the way for safety and security for the whole vehicle. IVY will also work on smart road sensors, traffic lights and whatever the city needs, he says.

In March, the BlackBerry IVY Innovation Fund was launched to help bring new products and applications to market using IVY. The Fund will invest up to $50 million in start-ups using data and BlackBerry IVY AI insights.

In June, the BlackBerry IVY Advisory Council was formed. Members include AWS, HERE Technologies, Cerence, TELUS and GEICO to guide the IVY mobility community.

Ottawa L5 Launch

“It is like a snowball effect – as you roll the snowball it catches everything.”

A Frost and Sullivan white paper, ‘Blackberry Revolutionizes the Connected – Autonomous Ecosystem with an Industry-leading Edge-to-Cloud Software Platform for Automakers and Smart Cities’ states, “BlackBerry IVY provides OEMs with a turnkey solution that standardizes data access and consistency while allowing for complete control over data ownership and management.”

The paper finds that BlackBerry IVY is built on a foundation of two key components: intelligence in the edge and intelligence in the cloud. The edge-first solution helps automakers process data in the vehicle without sending superfluous information to the cloud.

Frost and Sullivan estimates that the data produced from drivers continuously traversing the roads will eventually become more valuable than the actual sales of vehicles. Connected car hardware, software and services represent nearly $20B of new revenue for automakers by 2025. 

By 2025 the smart city and vehicle IoT market is expected to reach upwards of $45B. BlackBerry IVY offers actionable insights that let governments hasten the implementation of revolutionary safety features, reports Frost and Sullivan.

The paper concludes, “Blackberry IVY offers a ready-made solution that unifies cross-industry efforts and immediately adds value to public and private stakeholders as they continue to strive towards higher levels of connectivity and Autonomy that will revolutionize vehicle experiences, redefine urban life and deliver unparalleled safety and benefits to all road users.”

Courville relates BlackBerry QNX’s popularity to the kind of weather Canadians know well -snow.

“BlackBerry offers so many software options for mobility and automotive. It is like a snowball effect – as you roll the snowball it catches everything,” concludes Courville.

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