BlackBerry, Baidu team up to develop driverless car software

BlackBerry Ltd. and China’s largest search engine provider have signed a deal to develop autonomous vehicle software.

Under the deal’s terms, Baidu Inc. will combine its Apollo autonomous open driving platform, which gives automakers a set of tools to design autonomous vehicles, with BlackBerry’s QNX safety operating system. It will also bundle its leading smartphone integration software for connected cars, CarLife, with BlackBerry’s QNX entertainment software.

The partnership will allow automakers to enter the autonomous vehicle production fastlane, said Li Zhenya, general manager of Baidu’s intelligent driving group.

“By integrating the BlackBerry QNX OS with the Apollo platform, we will enable carmakers to leap from prototype to production systems,” he said in a statement.

Apollo supports the major functions and features of an autonomous vehicle and has attracted more than 70 global partners, according to its website. It’s also one of the world’s leading artificial intelligence researchers, said John Wall, senior vice president and GM of BlackBerry QNX, adding the deal will provide “crucial ingredients for autonomous vehicles.”

BlackBerry announced several deals at the end of last year involving its QNX operating system. England-based Delphi Automotive signed a commercial partnership agreement with BlackBerry last September to integrate QNX into its autonomous driving technology. A month later, China’s Yanfeng Visteon picked QNX for a digital instrument cluster project. Qualcomm Technologies Inc. announced a strategic collaboration to develop automotive platforms using QNX in December.

BlackBerry’s Toronto-listed shares have risen nearly eight per cent since the announcement.

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