There was a time when Blackberry was the talk of the town with their qwerty phones among all age groups. But today, they are barely active in the phone industry through third parties. The Canadian company is doing a comeback of sorts using its well documented expertise in auto-tech using its QNX platform. This week, they announced that they will be venturing into supporting the level 3 driving domain controller for Xpeng in China. Xpeng is the big Chinese electric car maker considered by many to be Tesla's rival as it is the most well funded electric-vehicle startup in the world's most populous country.
This is an interesting development as Elon Musk has claimed that Tesla is now close to achieving level 5 autonomous capabilities. QNX is not something new. Back in 2010, Blackberry had acquired a company called the "The Astonishing Tribe" (TAT) for the QNX platform. QNX was already designed for smart cars, but the Canadian company went beyond its original use and adapted the operating system for its BlackBerry 10 line of phones and its iPad rival called the PlayBook.
It seems like the destiny of QNX has come a full circle as it will be used in these electric cars powering their intelligent cockpit. The software developed by Blackberry is capable of competing with likes of Android and Linux. The plan is to use the same for next-gen Xpeng's models.
There is more to this deal between Blackberry and Xpeng. The partnership involves another renowned company working in the automotive system integrators namely Desay SV. Previously a Sino-German joint venture. The company is acting as the bridge between the two as Desay SV has been more active in the Chinese ecosystem by selling to many automotive brands and original equipment manufacturers.
Xpeng's most famous electric car, the P7, has many other collaborators in terms of features installed in it. Xpeng has many other foreign technologies involved in developing the model to reach their current state. They have NVIDIA's Xavier cockpit chip in their Autonomous Vehicles.
"The vehicle's driving status provides 360-degree omnidirectional perception with real-time monitoring of the surrounding environment to make safe driving decisions," said Xpeng while announcing the P7.
This mega collaboration between Xpeng, Blackberry and Desay SV is to compete as one of the best cars in the segment, in the times to come. Desay SV Automotive has been known for their long standing experience with intelligent cockpits, smart driving, and connected services, which are the key features of the cars being developed by Xpeng.
"Augmented with the safety expertise of BlackBerry QNX, together we can address the diverse needs of an auto industry that is undergoing a meaningful transformation," said John Wall, the senior Vice President and the co-head of BlackBerry technology solutions, the division of the iconic Canadian company that focuses on autonomous cars. The partnership was made possible by Xpeng after they raised $1.1 billion through initial public offering in New York.