BlackBerry to make self-driving cars internet firm Baidu

Blackberry shares rise on Baidu agreement

BlackBerry to make self-driving cars internet firm Baidu

The news comes a little more than a year after BlackBerry stopped directly manufacturing smartphones, following a decline in market share as the popularity of Android and iOS smartphones grew.

"By integrating the BlackBerry QNX OS with the Apollo platform, we will enable carmakers to leap from prototype to production systems", he said.

BlackBerry's QNX unit has always been a leader in building systems to run entertainment and mapping programs in cars.

Chinese internet tech giant Baidu will work with Canada's BlackBerry in a partnership that will see QNX used as the basis for Baidu's Apollo self-driving platform, and which will also see Baidu's CarLife smartphone software for in-car use, DuerOS AI assistant and HD maps integrated into BlackBerry's QNX infotainment software. Baidu shares, meanwhile, ended up 1.30% at $245.55.

The BlackBerry QNX platform is already a known quantity in the automotive world, with numerous in-car infotainment systems that you know and tolerate having been built on it. Baidu might not be as familiar to readers in the USA, but it is a world leader in the development of deep learning and artificial intelligence as well as being the Chinese equivalent of Google.

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"Baidu has made tremendous strides in Artificial Intelligence and deep learning", said John Wall, GM of Blackberry's QNX unit.

Li Zhenyu, General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group, Baidu said his company aims to accelerate the development of fully autonomous vehicle production, with a focus on safety and security.

The deal concentrates on developing autonomous-driving technology with BlackBerry's QNX software and it is expected to start gain profits by the next year.

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.

As the companies note in their press release, Apollo has attracted more than 70 partners worldwide, including equipment manufacturers, top automakers, developer platforms and tech startups. In the deal with BlackBerry, third-party software and hardware can bring products to market. The company cites cyber security as a core feature of its software and systems.

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