BlackBerry is looking to the auto industry for new ways to make money now that it is relying less on Smartphones as a source of revenue.
The Canadian firm has announced its plans to sink $100 million (Cdn) into a self-driving car technology center, building on the software platforms it already sells to automakers worldwide. The plan is to “advance technology innovation for connected and autonomous vehicles,” both independently as well as by partnering with private and public sector organizations and research institutes.
Dubbed the BlackBerry QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre (AVIC), the facility is located in the nation’s capital: Ottawa, Ont., where the BlackBerry QNX headquarters is already located.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who attended the center’s official opening Monday, said the center would help establish Canada “as the global leader in software and security for connected car and autonomous vehicle development.”
“This centre will create great middle-class jobs for Canadians, new opportunities for recent university graduates, and further position Canada as a global hub for innovation,” the prime minister said.
The center, which was approved by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation late last month, will serve as a “catalyst and funnel for the private, public, and academic sectors, to collaborate on hands-on projects that provide proof-of-concept and production-ready solutions for connected, automated, and autonomous vehicles,” the company said in a blog post.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company’s roots in security will serve it well in this new leg of its journey.
“Autonomous vehicles require software that is extremely sophisticated and highly secure,” said Chen.“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.”
BlackBerry has not released a timeline for when its autonomous technology will be available in vehicles ready for purchase, but “early results” will be debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month.