BlackBerry Ltd. is partnering with Beijing-based Baidu to speed up deployment of connected and autonomous vehicle technology to automakers and their suppliers.
The Canadian tech firm will supply Baidu, a major Chinese web services supplier and artificial intelligence developer, with its BlackBerry QNX operating system as the basis for Baidu’s autonomous-driving open platform, the companies said in a joint news release Wednesday morning.
They also will work together to integrate Baidu’s CarLife smartphone integration software for connected cars, its conversational AI system DuerOS and high-definition maps to run on the BlackBerry QNX widely-used car infotainment platform.
“By integrating the BlackBerry QNX OS with the Apollo platform, we will enable carmakers to leap from prototype to production systems,” said Li Zhenyu, general manager of Baidu’s intelligent driving group.
Baidu says it has more than 70 partners in its Apollo program, including vehicle assembly companies, Tier 1 parts suppliers and technology startups.
BlackBerry's partnership with Baidu allows the tech company to explore secure integration of multiple vehicle subsystems, said John Wall, senior vice president and general manager of BlackBerry QNX.
“Baidu has made tremendous strides in artificial intelligence and deep learning,” he said. “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.”
Blackberry's auto expansion
The partnership is the latest in a series of deals for BlackBerry’s automotive software unit, including with suppliers Delphi, Denso, Qualcomm and Yanfeng Visteon.
BlackBerry, which has been repositioning itself as a cybersecurity, software and intellectual property supplier, is also working with many of the automotive industry's major chip makers and parts suppliers.
BlackBerry has developed about 12 different software modules beyond infotainment systems that were a major part of its QNX operating unit.
CEO John Chen said last month after announcing the Waterloo-based company's third-quarter results that BlackBerry is making good progress towards being a key software supplier for autonomous vehicles.
It announced last month that it will partner with Japan-based Denso Corp., one of Toyota's technology suppliers, to work with Intel to develop an integrated platform for coordinating various human-machine interfaces.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.