BlackBerry has now inked a new deal with Ford that will more tightly integrate BlackBerry’s QNX platform inside some of Ford’s upcoming vehicles. QNX is already used in Ford’s in-car infotainment systems. The platform has a strong bent on security and it’s considered one of BlackBerry’s crown jewels, especially as the company pivots from hardware to software. The two companies did not disclose the terms of the deal or where the new software will be used.
On a media briefing, BlackBerry’s head of QNX John Wall said the new relationship with Ford will create a direct link between the two companies and also shorten the turnaround time for new software developments.
BlackBerry’s QNX General Manager John Wall said that the deal allows BlackBerry to directly provide software products for Ford’s cars. Ford has already used this software built by QNX for its Sync3 in-car infotainment sys. Though Ford had purchased it through Panasonic Corp.
Enhanced use of the software will allow Ford to choose from a variety of options to improve the cars. For instance, it could further personalize them, enabling drivers to customize what they see in the instrument cluster and how they go about choosing their music, Wall says.
It will also provide more security at a time when worries abound about the possibility that the in-car communications systems are susceptible to hacking. Automakers are working to shut out the hackers, who they fear could take over systems tied to the car’s computers like steering or braking, and possibly deliberately cause a crash.
BlackBerry says QNX is currently running in more than 60 million vehicles. BlackBerry acquired QNX in 2010 and platform now has more than 40 automakers — such as Audi, BMW, Acura, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Jaguar, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes, Land Rover Range Rover, Toyota, Porsche, Volkswagen — in the fold.