BlackBerry joins forces with Ford on connected car software

A businessman looking at multiple computer screens of software

BlackBerry, a company perhaps best known for its business-focused mobile devices, has signed an agreement with Ford Motor Company to expand the use of its QNX and security software in Ford’s vehicles.

The deal will see BlackBerry support Ford’s goal of providing connected vehicles and mobility to its customers, and comes soon after BlackBerry announced that it would stop developing its own hardware to focus on software development.

“The future of the automobile is all about embedded intelligence,” said John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and CEO.

“I believe our expertise in secure embedded software makes us the preferred technology provider to put the smart in the car.”

The opportunity to contribute its technology to Ford’s products was a “privilege”, said Chen.

Under the agreement, a dedicated BlackBerry team will work with Ford to expand the use of the company’s software – including its QNX Neutrino Operating System, Certicom security technology, QNX hypervisor and QNX audio processing software.

BlackBerry’s QNX software already powers more than 60 million vehicles, including the infotainment system found in current Ford models.

The future of the automobile is all about embedded intelligence
— John Chen, executive chairman and CEO, BlackBerry

Raj Nair, Executive Vice President Product Development and Chief Technical Officer at Ford, said: “With the success of our SYNC 3 system globally, which is based on the BlackBerry QNX operating system, we understand the importance of the connected car experience to our customers.”

In a statement, BlackBerry said that its expertise would allow it to offer “the most secure, trusted and reliable platform that can power every aspect of the connected car”.

The announcement comes soon after Bloomberg reported that Apple has hired around two dozen software engineers from Blackberry’s QNX, as it develops its own car operating system in Canada.