BlackBerry and Baidu have announced a strategic expansion of its their partnership which leverages Baidu's mapping data on the QNX Neutrino Real-Time operating system which will be part of mass-produced GAC New Energy Aion models which makes 2 million vehicles per year.
"With BlackBerry QNX's embedded software as its foundation, Baidu has made significant progress as part of its Apollo platform in establishing a commercial ecosystem for innovative technologies that OEMs can leverage for their next-generation vehicles," said Dhiraj Handa, VP, Channel, Partners and APAC, BlackBerry Technology Solutions. "We look forward to continuing to work closely with Baidu to help develop and deploy leading-edge autonomous driving and connected vehicle technologies to meet the ever-increasing mission-critical and security requirements of the automotive industry," he added.
"We aim to provide car manufacturers with a clear and fast path to the production of autonomous vehicles, with safety and security as the top priority. The BlackBerry QNX software performs well in functional safety, network security and reliability, while Baidu has achieved long-term development in artificial intelligence and deep learning. Together, we can help car manufacturers quickly produce safe autonomous vehicles and promote the development collaboratively of the intelligent networked automobile industry," said Wang Yunpeng, Senior Director of Technology Department of Baidu's Intelligent Driving Group.
The plan is to not just embed Baidu's mapping technology on Blackberry's operating system but also enable more and more carmakers to make the shift to autonomous vehicles. This partnership is also notable as it inserts a foreign operating system at the heart of an inherently Chinese product which hasn't happened since the days of Android, iOS and Windows.
BlackBerry takes care of the safety stack, network security and reliability while Baidu integrates its AI platform and deep learning algorithms. This agreement builds on top of the 2018 agreement between the two companies which basically made the QNX platform the foundation of the "Apollo" autonomous driving open platform. This platform has been described by many as an Android for smart driving. Potentially any manufacturer can plug and play autonomous capabilities using this platform.
Baidu has been hard at work deploying a robotaxi fleet suing its autonomous driving capabilities. This marks yet another push into the autonomous driving space. Baidu has already signalled an intent to form a new company in partnership with Geely in which the former will focus on self-driving technologies while the latter will focus on designing and engineering the vehicles.