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Blackberry and Baidu deepen their partnership for autonomous and connected cars – TechCrunch

Blackberry and Chinese search engine giant Baidu have agreed to expand a partnership to give automakers the tools they need to launch next-generation connected and autonomous vehicles in China.

As part of the deal, Baidu’s high-definition cards will be integrated into Blackberry’s QNX Neutrino real-time operating system. The on-board system will be mass-produced in upcoming GAC New Energy Aion models of the electric vehicle arm of GAC Group, one of the country’s three largest automakers which produces more than 2 million vehicles per year.

The goal of this new expanded partnership is to “provide automakers with a clear and fast path to the production of self-driving vehicles, with safety and security as a top priority,” said Wang Yunpeng, senior chief technology officer. . Baidu intelligent driving group department.

The partnership between Baidu and Blackberry is remarkable as it inserts a foreign operating system into vehicles made in China even as the government has called for native technology.

Blackberry’s QNX software manages functional security, network security and reliability, while Baidu has invested in the development of artificial intelligence and deep learning.

“Together, we can help automakers quickly produce safe autonomous vehicles and collaboratively promote the development of the networked intelligent automobile industry,” Yunpeng said.

Blackberry, once the dominant force in the smartphone industry, has successfully incorporated its QNX technology into vehicles. Today, the software is used in advanced driver assistance, digital instrument clusters and infotainment systems in more than 175 million vehicles.

The deal builds on the two companies’ agreement in January 2018 to make the BlackBerry QNX operating system the basis of Baidu’s “ Apollo ” open autonomous driving platform.

The deal with Baidu also helps Blackberry continue to carve out market share in China, where it is a more recent entrant. Last year, Blackberry announced that QNX would be integrated into the electric vehicles of rival Tesla Xpeng in China.

“With BlackBerry QNX embedded software as the foundation, Baidu has made significant progress on its Apollo platform by establishing a business ecosystem for innovative technologies that OEMs can leverage for their next-generation vehicles,” Dhiraj Handa , channel vice president, partners and APAC, BlackBerry Technology Solutions, said in a statement.

Baidu’s autonomous driving program, known as Apollo, has been described as “an Android for smart driving”. The Apollo program has attracted more than 100 manufacturing and supplier partners. Baidu has also been very busy testing autonomous driving and launching a fleet of robotaxi in September.

The deal also comes on the heels of Baidu’s push beyond automotive software and into vehicle production. Baidu announced earlier this month plans to start a new company to produce electric vehicles with help from Chinese automaker Geely. Baidu will provide so-called intelligent driving technologies while Geely will take care of the design, engineering and manufacture of the vehicles.

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