Blackberry unveils self-driving car innovation centre

Computer screen showing source code

Software firm Blackberry this week unveiled its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre (AVIC) in Ottawa, a site focused on speeding up the realisation of connected and self-driving vehicles.

The centre, housed within the Blackberry QNX facility in Canada’s capital city, will develop production-ready software for connected and autonomous cars – both independently and in collaboration with private and public sector partners.

John Chen, Blackberry’s Executive Chairman and CEO, was joined at the unveiling by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

To support the centre’s work, Blackberry QNX plans to hire local software engineers to work on engineering projects focused on connected and autonomous cars.

One of the team’s first projects will be to support a recently approved pilot programme for Blackberry QNX to test autonomous vehicles on Ontario’s roads. 



The centre will also support the company’s plans to build an autonomous concept vehicle in conjunction with the University of Waterloo, PolySync and Renesas Electronics.

“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.

“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.”

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.
— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

BlackBerry QNX has been supplying embedded software to the car industry for more than ten years and says that its software can be found in more than 60 million vehicles today. 

To support the arrival of driverless cars, the company is extending its expertise into advanced driver assist systems, connected and autonomous vehicle systems and secure over-the-air software update services.

Last month, Blackberry announced that it had signed an agreement with Ford Motor Company to expand the use of its QNX and security software in Ford’s vehicles.