Rumours say BlackBerry eyeing autonomous car

Concept car unveiling at 2016 CES electronics show in Las Vegas

Published: December 19, 2015, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 23, 2021, 2:43 PM

Maserati Quattroporte interior

Another tech company seems ready to jump into the car wars and this one has a Canadian connection. BlackBerry has announced plans to further explore automotive applications for its QNX operating system.

Even before the acquisition of QNX by Research in Motion (which would become the standalone BlackBerry) in 2010, QNX had been extensively involved in the development of integration in the auto industry. QNX software had been used in vehicles prior to 2004 and is currently used in 100s of nameplates and millions of cars around the world, as well as being an integral part of Apple Carplay and Ford’s SYNC.

The recent interest, though, is rooted in an announcement by BlackBerry that it would be showing a concept car at the 2016 CES show in Las Vegas, which over the past several years has become increasingly popular with automakers as a venue for introducing new in-car technology.

Naturally, people took that to mean BlackBerry was following Google and Apple’s lead in setting up to build its own car, but BlackBerry’s announcement is reportedly simply a way for it to explore how to make QNX’s in-car systems better.

Specifically, QNX is exploring less-intrusive systems that will be less likely to distract drivers, which is really more in line with driving and keeping drivers on task. The company has entered into a strategic partnership with Luxoft, which has automotive connections in relation to connectivity, navigation and telematics. Luxoft also has autonomous driving technologies, which is the area most are interested in discussing.

“The minute you get behind the wheel, you realize that our concept team is exploring answers to a multitude of questions,” QNX’s PR manager Paul Leroux told “For instance, how do you bring more content into a car, without distracting the driver? How do you take types of information previously distributed across two or more screens and integrate them on a single display? How do you combine information about local speed limits with speedometer readouts to promote better driving? How do you make familiar activities, such as using the car radio, simpler and more intuitive? And how much should a car’s UX rely on the touch gestures that have become commonplace on smartphones and tablets?”

Luxoft has developed human-machine interfaces (HMI) for many automotive clients, including Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.