Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

BlackBerry and Baidu will partner in developing technology for self-driving vehicles

BlackBerry and Baidu will partner in developing technology for self-driving vehicles

The Chinese behemoth has inked a deal with BlackBerry to make QNX the heart of its autonomous driving open platform, Apollo.

The two companies have reportedly gone on to say that they will also integrate its conversational AI system, CarLife, its and high definition maps with BlackBerry's infotainment platform.

The news comes a little more than a year after BlackBerry stopped directly manufacturing smartphones, following a decline in market share as the popularity of Android and iOS smartphones grew. A 2016 survey of automotive customers by Pwc in mainland China and Hong Kong found that "Chinese consumers place more emphasis on in-car technology than on price or engine performance when it comes to buying a auto, and 40% are willing to change brands for better connectivity".

"Given the importance of cameras as sensors for autonomous driving, we considered many aspects in our selection process for the Apollo platform including product roadmap, experience in automotive, and technical support for ecosystem platforms", said Mr. Zhenyu Li, VP and General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group at Baidu. England-based Delphi Automotive signed a commercial partnership agreement with BlackBerry last September to integrate QNX into its autonomous driving technology.

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Baidu's president, Ya-Qin Zhang, will be speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show on a panel about self-driving vehicles.

Analysts and investors allegedly expect QNX to become a key technology in the burgeoning self-driving vehicle industry. "Baidu has made tremendous strides in Artificial Intelligence and deep learning. 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", Wall added. The partnership will see BlackBerry's QNX software being used as the basis for Baidu's Apollo self-driving platform.

As the companies note in their press release, Apollo has attracted more than 70 partners worldwide, including equipment manufacturers, top automakers, developer platforms and tech startups.

Baidu's Apollo open platform provides a comprehensive, secure and reliable solution that consists of cloud services, an open software stack and reference hardware and vehicle platforms.

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