BlackBerry will team up with automotive company Delphi to provide some much needed support for self-driving cars — but the project won't have anything to do with old-school smartphone service.
The two companies signed a commercial working partnership that will bring BlackBerry's QNX operating system to Delphi's self-driving car platform. BlackBerry's auto OS is already found in infotainment centers from several carmakers, most notably Ford's Sync system.
The partnership will bring the QNX OS to Delphi's proposed Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) platform, which the company calls a "fully integrated automated driving solution," slated for release in 2019. Delphi hopes to offer the CSLP platform to automakers that don't develop their own autonomous system as an aftermarket self-driving option.
BlackBerry's OS will be used in tandem with Delphi's own software algorithms and middleware to bolster the platform's performance and safety. Safety here refers to cybersecurity, which BlackBerry claims is the QNX's strong suit. The OS boasts features like microkernel architecture, file encryption, and anomaly detection, among others.
Cybersecurity is a pressing matter for the automotive industry at large. Most modern cars boast infotainment centers and other systems that are connected to the cloud in one way or another, so keeping vehicle systems and data secure is of paramount importance, especially with the spread of V2V communication systems and other connected car operating systems from other software giants like Android and Linux.
The need for security was clear when CIA documents leaked in the WikiLeaks Vault 7 CIA data dump back in March described efforts to develop malware to infect IoT devices, including "Vehicle Systems." As cars become even more connected and drive themselves, automotive cyberattacks will only become more common — so even more protection is in order.