Blackberry Ltd., a smart phone manufacturer is recognized worldwide thanks to the introduction of its famous Blackberry messenger app. This was one of the reasons for the downfall of the company. The company is strategizing on its comeback owing to the downfall of its share prices. With the announce of its plan for building an autonomous car software jumping into a race with the likes of Apple Inc., Google and Tesla motors Inc to capture a piece of the ballooning industry.
Google’s self-driving car was the stepping-stone for the inception of this idea to take flight. The company’s QNX software division takes care of the newly formed vehicle division. The company’s QNX software division showed off demo cars that can scan for obstacles, keep from straying from a highway lane and communicate wirelessly with nearby vehicles to avoid accidents, using tools developed by other software and hardware companies on the QNX operating system.
QNX has already been used by plenty of automakers like Ford Motor Co. to build in-car entertainment systems. Blackberry, based in Waterloo, Ontario, wants to extend that model to self-driving car technology by providing a central platform that other companies can use to build their own features.
“We are not doing the algorithms that make decisions on driving,” Derek Kuhn, senior vice president of Internet of Things at BlackBerry, said in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “We’re providing the building blocks on which the electronics and automotive companies can make those decisions.”
The developing technology may offer an alternative for carmakers that are considering building their own self-driving software or partnering with Apple and Google. Still, those companies have been pouring resources into autonomous cars. Google’s vehicles have driven more than two million miles on their own and Tesla sells some cars pre-loaded with the ability to stay in a certain lane on their own. The market is still wide open and BlackBerry shouldn’t be counted out, according to Jeremy Carlson, an automotive technology analyst at IHS. There are a lot of intermediate steps that need to happen before fully autonomous cars hit the roads, he said.
“There’s plenty of opportunity for everyone,” Carlson said.
The software for in-car navigation and entertainment systems is used in more than 60 million vehicles, including as part of Ford’s Sync infotainment system. Apple and Google also have developed their own systems. The foothold means that the company has solid relationships with car manufacturers that it can build on to help them develop self-driving vehicles, Carlson said. BlackBerry announced its plans to try to gain a piece of the autonomous car market at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a technology industry gathering that has morphed into the venue for auto companies to introduce their newest innovations.
Handing over your driving duties to a software-driven vehicle is a pretty futuristic idea. If the latest surveys are any indication, the market for self-driving (aka autonomous) vehicles is getting ready to explode — and smart people are paying close attention.
Consumers are looking on with great interest and with a lot of questions. Many people are worried about the safety of riding in a car driven by sensors and software, but accident data from Google’s self-driving car project indicates that all of the self-driving cars’ accidents to date were caused by human drivers.
Experts believe that self-driving cars are usually safer than error-prone human drivers, who are responsible for 90% of accidents. They also say autonomous vehicles can reduce traffic jams and increase highway capacity because sensors allow the vehicles to drive closer together.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS):
ADAS has primed the pump for even more auto automation. Safety features, such as automated emergency braking, automated lighting and adaptive cruise control, and convenience features that connect the car to your smart phone for navigation, communication or entertainment, are all but expected by today’s auto buyers.
Software will drive most of the innovation around autonomous vehicles, and an upcoming webinar with Kerry Johnson, Product Manager for QNX Software Systems, will talk about writing software for self-driving vehicles. Specifically, he and Kris Keach, Contributing Editor for Tech Online, will explore:
– The emergence of high performance embedded system on chips (SoCs) targeting ADAS and autonomous vehicle applications.
– The impact of increasing system integration and autonomous technology on embedded software.
– The need for safety standards such as IS 26262, which specifies the functional safety of electrical and electronic systems in road vehicles.
– The emergence of pre-certified products as part of the solution to address safety challenges.
– The role of a software platform to support evolution from ADAS to autonomous driving.
If this technology hits it off, Blackberry is going to regain its popularity and get more credibility that it was losing. This could be quite revolutionary for the company and would certainly give Google a run for its miles.