BlackBerry QNX announces NVIDIA partnership at CES 2018

BlackBerry-Aston
A mock-up interior of BlackBerry QNX's Aston Martin DB11 concept car, on display this year at the Consumer Electronics Show.

BlackBerry QNX knows how to play the game at the Consumer Electronics Show, so instead of just telling you that they’ve locked down a deal to underpin a self-driving platform for NVIDIA, they also rolled up to the annual Las Vegas tech expo in an Aston Martin DB11 – freshly outfitted with their latest tech, of course.

But this is a tech site and not a car show, so we’re going to focus on the NVIDIA partnership instead of just ogling the DB11.

The announcement means BlackBerry QNX’s operating system will provide the framework for the NVIDIA DRIVE self-driving artificial intelligence development platform. During NVIDIA’s CES press conference, CEO Jensen Huang restated the security demands of autonomous vehicles before announcing the firm’s partnership with BlackBerry QNX.

“The most important feature of a self-driving car is not that it drives by itself. The most important feature is actually safety,” he said.

The NVIDIA partnership and the occasion of CES were enough for BlackBerry CEO John Chen to write a blog post reflecting on the Waterloo-based firm’s comeback from struggling handset developer to reliable security software developer. Titled “The Road Ahead,” Chen declared that BlackBerry is “no longer in turnaround mode and (is) pointed in the right direction.”

Chen highlighted the QNX division’s work in autonomous vehicles and its recent deal with Chinese search engine giant Baidu as indications of the firm’s forward momentum.

“The connected transportation future is an opportunity that plays to our historical strengths, that we believe BlackBerry is uniquely positioned to capture, and one where the pace of our progress has visibly accelerated of late,” he wrote.

Last year was significant for BlackBerry QNX and for Ottawa as the city seeks to become a hub for autonomous vehicles. Not only did 2017 see automaker Ford put roots down in the city, Kanata’s Legget Drive played host to the first self-driving car on Canadian public streets – BlackBerry QNX’s technology played chauffeur.

Closing his blog post, in which he recaps the milestones that got the QNX division to where it stands today, Chen opted to end on an aspirational note: “The road ahead beckons and we’re eager to see where it leads.”