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BlackBerry, Baidu to partner on driverless software

Baidu puts its $1.5bn self-driving car fund into action by partnering with BlackBerry to race to the top of the market.

By April Slattery

BlackBerry aims to boost its position in the autonomous car race by partnering with Chinese internet giant Baidu to develop automotive software technology.

The aim of the partnership is to quicken the adoption and deployment of connected, autonomous vehicles across the fast-growing market for automotive OEMs and suppliers around the world.

In the partnership the pair have signed a statement of intent, which outlines that the two companies will use BlackBerry’s safety operating system as the foundation for Baidu’s Apollo 1.5 autonomous driving open platform.

“We aim to provide automakers with a clear and fast path to fully autonomous vehicle production, with safety and security as top priorities. By integrating the BlackBerry QNX OS with the Apollo platform, we will enable carmakers to leap from prototype to production systems.

Blackberry, Baidu head into the self-driving car race with the likes of Google

“Together, we will work toward a technological and commercial ecosystem for autonomous driving, intelligent connectivity, and intelligent traffic systems,” said Li Zhenyu, General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group, Baidu.

Additionally, as part of the agreement, Baidu’s smartphone integration software for connected cars will be used on Apollo as well as its AI system to run on BlackBerry’s Platform, as well as BlackBerry’s in-car entertainment software. Integrating these two features will make HD maps accessible to run on the BlackBerry QNX Car Platform as well as boost the self-driving experience riders will get.

“Joining forces with Baidu will enable us to explore integration opportunities for multiple vehicle subsystems including ADAS, infotainment, gateways, and cloud services,” said John Wall, Senior Vice President and GM of BlackBerry QNX.

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“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.”

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BlackBerry has a long standing history of developing systems that operate entertainment and mapping programs within cars and now the company aims to transfer this expertise to build operating systems that can run on a much larger scale, with more complex software.

Baidu announced a $1.5bn fund to invest into self-driving car projects over the next three years in September and is now putting money where its mouth as BlackBerry has become its latest project partner in the autonomous market.


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