Chinese internet giant Baidu and BlackBerry agreed to develop self-driving vehicles technology based on the Canadian company’s QNX software.
The companies will make QNX’s certified safety operating system the foundation for Baidu’s Apollo autonomous vehicle platform. The two will also incorporate Baidu’s CarLife smartphone integration software for connected cars in China, as well as its conversational artificial intelligence system DuerOS and high-definition maps into the BlackBerry QNX car (infotainment) platform.
BlackBerry previously signed similar deals with Qualcomm, Denso and Aptiv, Reuters reported.
Li Zhenyu, GM of Baidu’s intelligent driving group, said it aims to provide automakers with a clear and fast path to fully autonomous vehicle production, with safety and security as top priorities. By integrating the QNX OS with the Apollo platform, the companies will enable carmakers to leap from prototype to production systems, Li added.
John Wall, SVP and GM of BlackBerry QNX, said: “Baidu has made tremendous strides in artificial intelligence and deep learning. These advancements paired with their high-definition maps and BlackBerry’s safety-critical embedded software and expertise in security will be crucial ingredients for autonomous vehicles.”
He said joining forces with Baidu will enable BlackBerry to explore integration opportunities for multiple vehicle subsystems, including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), infotainment, gateways and cloud services.
BlackBerry stopped making handsets in 2015 and is now focused on software and services. It signed licensing deals with a number of vendors including BB Merah Putih, Optiemus Infracom and TCL, which enable the companies to bring BlackBerry-branded devices to market.
Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, in July formed a broad alliance with more than 50 automotive and tech companies to transform its Apollo self-driving car platform into a global initiative.
It also struck partnerships with five Chinese vehicle manufacturers: BAIC Motor, Chery Automobile, Chongqing Changan Automobile, FAW Group and Great Wall Motors.
Baidu established a self-driving vehicle unit in Silicon Valley in 2016 as part of an ongoing strategy started in 2013. It set the goal of having self-driving vehicles on the road in China by 2019. Apollo autopilot software, which is being developed at Baidu’s R&D facilities in California, is in direct competition with Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving initiative.