Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainabili Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainability, green tech, AI, and EU policy. With a background in the humanities, she has a soft spot for social impact-enabling technologies.
BlackBerry is a name that will probably be forever associated with smartphones, but the company has been branching out in unexpected ways since it killed its phone business back in 2016.
Specifically, it has been focusing on software development and, in fact, many cars on the market are using BlackBerry’s QNX platform for ADAS.
As per the firm, its platform is especially useful to EV makers, who are building their vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems and enhanced automated features.
BlackBerry’s first tech feature: QNX
What it’s for: Its main role is to make sense of the EV data firehose, meaning the continuous stream of all available real-time information an EV gets through its sensors to perform automated functions.
Let’s explain that a bit more.
A car with an ADAS system gathers data from its cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensor, and/or LiDAR, to “see” its surrounding environment.
But for a vehicle to merge and analyze the multiple data streams into a single view of its surroundings that it can understand, it needs a software that can employ hardware accelerators for vision processing and deep neural-net based machine learning algorithms.
And that’s exactly what the QNX platform promises to do.
BlackBerry claims it provides automakers with a solid base for constructing ADAS and autonomous driving software, which manages all the vehicle’s sensor data, and allows an autonomous system to understand its surroundings and make real-time decisions that control the vehicle’s steering, throttle, and brakes.
Due to its modular and hardware-agnostic design, QNX also enables automakers to iterate various designs — a big plus, considering the rapidly advancing EV tech.
Who are using it: BlackBerry’s tech seems to be successful and, according to the company’s analysis, by June, its software had been embedded in over 195 million vehicles, an increase of 20 million year-over-year — including brands such as Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
The company furthermore claims that QNX is the preferred choice of 23 out of 25 top EV manufacturers.
Competitors: Of course, BlackBerry isn’t alone in developing software for ADAS systems. To name just a few competitors, there’s Magna International, Robert Bosch, and Qualcomm, which strongly collaborates with GM.
BlackBerry’s second tech feature: IVY
BlackBerry IVY is a cloud-connected software platform, designed to facilitate both EV makers and charging companies.
The platform aims to enable personalized driver and passenger experience by leveraging the vehicle data.
Here are some examples:
- It can prolong the “feeling of delight” after a car purchase with dynamically revealed features based on usage patterns.
- It can optimize strategies for battery lifespan and travel distance based on driving habits.
- It can provide shared-car owners with heat maps of popular car-sharing zones by examining data on trip destination and duration.
Regarding charging companies, it can use time-stamped driving data to identify EV density around locations and routes and point out to the best places to build charging stations.
Personally, I’m impressed by how deep BlackBerry has dived into the automotive sector, since I’ve always associated it with the amazing 9900 mobile phone.
But if LG can switch from phones to electric powertrains, I’m sure that BlackBerry can further develop intelligent vehicle software.
Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up?
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