BlackBerry, Baidu partner to work on driver-less auto software

Blackberry shares rise on Baidu agreement

BlackBerry, Baidu partner to work on driver-less auto software

BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB) shares were skyrocketing on Wednesday on the news that the company has inked a deal with Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU).

"BlackBerry QNX has established itself as the OS platform for safety-certified production-based systems", said Li Zhenyu, General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group, Baidu.

Apollo is an open autonomous driving platform released by Baidu which includes vehicle platform, hardware platform, software platform and cloud services, with the goal to provide an open, complete and reliable hardware, software and service system for automotive and autonomous driving partners. Baidu CarLife, its integration software for connected cars which is primarily used in China, along with its DuerOS conversational AI and high-definition maps will be ported to the QNX Car (Infotainment) Platform.

QNX has always been used to run auto infotainment consoles.

BlackBerry (TSX:BB) - which has been repositioning itself as a cybersecurity, software and intellectual property supplier - is also working with numerous automotive industry's major chip makers and parts suppliers.

Baidu is not new to autonomous vehicle development either, having signed several deals with Nvidia the past as well as dedicating $1.5 billion to an autonomous vehicle fund in September. "Together, we will work toward a technological and commercial ecosystem for autonomous driving, intelligent connectivity, and intelligent traffic systems". "We aim to provide automakers with a clear and fast path to fully autonomous vehicle production, with safety and security as top priorities", he said in a press release.

CEO John Chen said last month after announcing the company's third-quarter results that BlackBerry is making good progress towards being a key software supplier for autonomous vehicles.

Announced by Baidu this past April, Apollo is an open platform that provides a comprehensive, secure, and reliable solution that consists of cloud services, an open software stack, and reference hardware and vehicle platforms. With BlackBerry's pivot to a software-first company, such deals will only help in its turnaround efforts.

It's developed about 12 different software modules beyond infotainment systems that were a major part of its QNX operating unit.

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