Apple hires QNX founder to work on car project: report

Apple has hired the founder of Kanata-based QNX Software Systems in an effort to step up development of self-driving car technology, media reports say.

Bloomberg News is reporting that Apple hired Dan Dodge, the founder and former CEO of QNX, earlier this year to be part of a team led by Bob Mansfield, who heads the tech giant’s autonomous car initiative and reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Mr. Mansfield leads Apple’s Project Titan, which is reportedly working on an autonomous driving system. According to Bloomberg, Apple has hundreds of engineers working on the project with the goal of releasing a system as early as 2020.

Mr. Dodge founded QNX in 1982 while still a student at the University of Waterloo, building the company into a force in the automotive software sector. QNX was acquired by BlackBerry in 2010, and its software is now found in more than half of all cars sold around the world.

Mr. Dodge retired from his post at QNX at the end of 2015.

In January, OBJ broke the news that Apple has leased more than 22,000 square feet of space near QNX headquarters at the Kanata Research Park. Sources said they believed the facility will be devoted to research and development, possibly with an eye to creating an autonomous driving system.

At the time, QNX director of business development Andrew Poliak told OBJ Apple’s arrival in Ottawa could create opportunities for the two companies to work together on new automotive applications.

“We’ve continued to deploy technology with all the major device manufacturers, whether it be Google or Apple or others that throughout the years, you will find us in a lot of cars enabling the technology,” he said. “We’re kind of the Switzerland of all the different devices that want to connect to a car.”

Apple has repeatedly refused to comment on its Ottawa expansion, but media reports suggest the company has been targeting former QNX executives to join its Ottawa team.