Ford Motor Co. has signed a deal with BlackBerry in a move which could see both the companies work on vehicle displays, infotainment system, and security. This could be seen a precursor to the autonomous technology which Ford is pursuing.
BlackBerry Limited officials said that the deal was unusual as it was signed directly with the automaker and not as an industry supplier. This deal reflects that automakers are interested in developing their own digital subsystems rather than depend on suppliers.
Ford Motor Co. uses BlackBerry's QNX secure operating system in the Sync 3 infotainment system, Panasonic Automotive currently uses the operating system in the Sync 3 before it goes on to be fitted to one of Ford's vehicles.
BlackBerry is hoping that new deal will expand the use of its software in other systems where it might be used.
Ford is surging ahead with its plans on its driverless vehicle efforts and is planning to offer a fully automated vehicle by 2021 as a commercial ride-sharing vehicle.
According to John Wall, the head of BlackBerry's QNX unit, the QNX's software is certified for use in autonomous driving and active safety systems.
He further added that at the initial use, the software can be used in cockpits; telematics, infotainment, cluster.
Both the companies did not confirm and declined to say how QNX might be rolled out into new systems or even discuss the financial terms of the deal.
A dedicated team from the QNX unit will work closely with Ford to expand the carmaker's use of Neutrino industrial operating system as well as an overarching program that can control other operating systems and related security technologies.
Wall said that they will be providing the plumbing for the vehicle that is both robust and safe and secure to allow the customers to build their applications on top of that.