OTTAWA—John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry Ltd., was joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this morning to unveil the BlackBerry QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre (AVIC).
“With the opening of its innovation centre in Ottawa, BlackBerry is helping to establish our country as the global leader in software and security for connected car and autonomous vehicle development,” said Trudeau. “This centre will create great middle-class jobs for Canadians, new opportunities for recent university graduates, and further position Canada as a global hub for innovation.”
Part of the existing BlackBerry QNX facility in Ottawa, the centre will accelerate development of connected and self-driving vehicles by researching production-ready software independently and in collaboration with partners in the private and public sector.
In a press release, BlackBerry QNX said it plans to recruit and hire local software engineers to work on ongoing and emerging engineering projects for connected and autonomous cars.
The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario recently approved the tech company’s request to test autonomous vehicles on Ontario roads as part of a pilot program. One of the centre’s first projects will be supporting this pilot as well as BlackBerry QNX’s work with the University of Waterloo, PolySync, and Renesas Electronics to build an autonomous concept vehicle.
“Autonomous vehicles require software that is extremely sophisticated and highly secure,” said Chen. “Our innovation track record in mobile security and our demonstrated leadership in automotive software make us ideally suited to dominate the market for embedded intelligence in the cars of the future.
It has been predicted that 50 per cent of all cars will connect to the cloud by 2020, and the wide range of ‘connected things’ could exceed 20 billion. In the coming hyper-connected world, cars will soon carry one of the highest concentrations of Internet of Things (IoT) nodes and sensors, generating a vast amount of vdata.