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Ford hires BlackBerry engineers in connected-car push

The move doubles the existing size of Ford’s connectivity engineering workforce.

By CBR Staff Writer

Car manufacturer Ford is hiring 400 employees from BlackBerry to boost its connected-car and autonomy efforts.

The 300 mobile solutions engineers in Canada and 100 in the US will double the existing size of Ford’s connectivity engineering workforce and accelerate its efforts to build in-house solutions.

The car maker currently has close ties with BlackBerry, as it announced in 2014 that it will use the smartphone manufacturer’s QNX car software for its SYNC infotainment systems.

In October 2016, the two companies said they will expand the use of QNX software within Ford’s fleet.

As part of the deal, BlackBerry agreed to dedicate a team to work with Ford on expanding the use of its QNX Neutrino Operating System, Certicom security technology, QNX hypervisor and QNX audio processing software.

BlackBerry said no engineers from its QNX division were part of the latest transfer. The Canadian firm’s QNX software powers over 60 million vehicles, including the SYNC 3 Infotainment system in Ford’s existing models.blackberry

The announcement comes the same day the Government of Canada announced support to Ford to create and maintain about 800 jobs for Canadian workers.

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At an event with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ford announced it will establish a new research and development centre in Ottawa, Ontario. The company plans to build further locations in Waterloo and Oakville.

Read more: BlackBerry, Ford sign software deal for self-driving future cars

The facilities will focus on connectivity research and development across infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, driver-assist features, and self-driving cars.

Ford Motor Company of Canada president and CEO Mark Buzzell said: “This investment demonstrates how Ford is transforming to be both an auto and mobility company.”

Last month, the company said it will invest $1bn into Argo’s artificial intelligence (AI) project over the next five years.

The collaboration with the AI company is anticipated to help increase the reliability of its self-driving cars over the next few years through the creation of a ‘virtual driver system’.

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