In 2016, you may have thought you’d already heard the last of Blackberry. Nowadays, it seems everyone you meet surely has an iPhone, with the once popular Blackberry becoming defunct and a relic of the past.
But now, it looks like Blackberry is entering a market you perhaps wouldn’t expect. This week, the company opened the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre in Kanata, Ontario, and announced it would be entering the world of driverless car research.
According to the company’s chief executive, Blackberry has a track record in mobile security and automative software leadership — making their foray into autonomous driving research hardly surprising.
Speaking at the launch, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Blackberry’s new centre would help make Canada a global leader in software and security for connected car and autonomous vehicle development. In addition, Trudeau said that the centre will make more jobs available for recent graduates, and ultimately create more middle-class jobs for all Canadians.
But for tech enthusiasts, the big question remains: will Blackberry come to dominate the world of autonomous driving research?
It certainly looks as though that is the company’s goal. Blackberry will be expanding subsidiary QNX’s Ottawa facility, in order to focus on creating autonomous vehicle technology and advanced driver assistance.
And it looks like the company has received a necessary green light from the government, too. Blackberry’s recently had their plans to test driverless cars approved by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Now, we will likely be seeing Blackberry’s autonomous cars on Ontario roads as part of their pilot project.
Blackberry will hire local software engineers to get to work on ongoing and emerging projects, for both connected and autonomous vehicles. The company plans on recruiting these engineers, as well as work with University of Waterloo, PolySync, and Renesas Electronics to create the concept for an autonomous car.
Blackberry will be able to test Ford vehicles, which already have autonomous features, on Ontario roads. Blackberry, who also has a deal to work directly with Ford, aims to have robot ride-sharing vehicles on the market by 2021.
For more on this story, visit the CBC.