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Blackberry Canada AI Businesses Networking Transportation

BlackBerry Unveils Autonomous Vehicle Hub In Canada (venturebeat.com) 37

BlackBerry's Unix-like OS, QNX, is already in millions of cars. But today they're expanding their facility in Ottawa "to focus on developing advanced driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technology," according to Reuters. And one analyst says "If they can prove that they have the whole package and the security, they could absolutely dominate the market." After a detour where QNX's industrial-focused software was used to reinvent the now-discarded BlackBerry phone operating system, BlackBerry is focused on how its embedded software interacts with the explosion of sensors, cameras and other components required for a car to drive itself... "What QNX is doing is providing the infrastructure that allows you to build higher-level algorithms and to also acquire data from the sensors in a reliable manner," said Sebastian Fischmeister, a University of Waterloo associate professor who has worked with QNX since 2009.
Instead of focussing on AI, BlackBerry wants "a niche role as a trusty sidekick," Reuters reports, adding that besides a recent deal with Ford, BlackBerry is also holding advanced discussions with "more than one or two" major automakers, according to the head of the company.
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BlackBerry Unveils Autonomous Vehicle Hub In Canada

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2016 @04:53AM (#53512373)

    I'm not sure that their present branding is right for the "high-tech sidekick" role in the automotive industry. They should rebrand from Blackberry to something that says "cars" and "snazzy technology", like "TechnoZoom" or "Research in Motion".

    • too many rim-job jokes to use "research in motion". It worked when they had co-ceo's that demanded rim-jobs, but it can't with a real corporate structure. It will collapse under the weight of all the jokes.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They'd be better off completely rebranding themselves so no one knows they're RIM/Blackberry. If I knew a car I was about to buy had Blackberry software in it, I wouldnt buy it, because I know it'd be unsupported very soon.

    • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @09:19AM (#53512975) Journal

      Please realize that the QNX guys are very different from the idiots that managed to lose the entire smartphone market to upstarts. QNX runs some of the most dangerous computing environments out there, and has been in use in cars for over a decade, because it's something you can rely upon, unlike almost every other OS that just ships with a disclaimer saying not to use it for whatever you're looking to use it for.

    • They'd be better off completely rebranding themselves so no one knows they're RIM/Blackberry. If I knew a car I was about to buy had Blackberry software in it, I wouldnt buy it, because I know it'd be unsupported very soon.

      I'm sure that however it's branded, it will have the enthusiastic [theinquirer.net] support [vice.com] of LEO's everywhere [www.cbc.ca]. Yes, governments would just love it if the software in self-driving vehicles came from a company with a proven track record of literally 'handing over the keys' to authorities.

    • > If I knew a car I was about to buy had Blackberry software in it, I wouldnt buy it,

      Most cars user QNX. It'll be a challenge to find one that doesn't, because 40 different car makers use it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    QNX was built from the ground up for this kind of application. Their microkernel came with a written guarantee (at least back in '99 when I did a co-op there).

  • Wow... those companies you thought were one-trick ponies and were dead.

  • by XB-70 ( 812342 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @07:38AM (#53512699)
    Regardless of which O/S and what features prevail in the autonomous driving world, I have one very grave concern. Thousands of man-years of research have gone into aircraft safety. One of the major components of that safety is a triply redundant computer system. If one machine does not agree with the other two, the pilot is warned.

    Right now, we don't have standards for self-driving cars. This should be the baseline for any new standard.

  • by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @08:01AM (#53512763)
    Plot twist: Blackberry renames itself to "Research in Motion", becomes a leading seller of autonomous cars to business executives everywhere.
    • Plot twist: Blackberry renames itself to "Research in Motion", becomes a leading seller of autonomous cars to business executives everywhere.

      Furthermore, business executives absolutely rave over the hardware-based steering wheel and pedals included in RIM's autonomous cars. "Real business executives need hardware steering on their cars," claims RIM CEO of the week. "Virtual steering interfaces, like those offered by Apple, just don't cut it in the business world."

      • You mock, but the hardware keyboard was pretty much what kept me on team BB until the most recent, final fuckover.

        A full keyboard is just so much easier to use because of the tactile feedback that comes with it. It's worth losing some screen real estate. I will admit I can't recall the last time I used the optical track pad, but it's nice to know it's there if I ever need to make a precision click.

        You know, until I ditch the phone next year because everything ELSE BlackBerry sucks giant sweaty balls.

  • We're all cheering for QNX and RIM here in Ottawa, lots of smart folks work there, and they who make great software.

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