BlackBerry exec sees self-driving cars on sale by 2017

A subsidiary of BlackBerry is making a splash at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it’s promoting a new software platform that could allow major car companies to offer self-driving vehicles to consumers as early as 2017.

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BlackBerry-owned QNX is already a big player in vehicle technology. Its infotainment centres, driver safety systems and other offerings were installed in nearly 20 million cars shipped last year.

Now, the company is promoting its new QNX Platform for ADAS (advanced driving assistance systems), which it says will serve as a base for integrating the various systems needed to allow vehicles to drive autonomously, including 360-degree cameras and vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems.

Derek Kuhn, a vice-president of QNX, told BNN’s Michael Hainsworth that the technology is nearly ready, and much of the work now has to do with making sure “legislators feel it’s okay.” He said he expects consumers will be buying autonomous vehicles in 2017-18.

“QNX and Blackberry have been providing technology like this for decades to the military, but now it’s becoming relevant to consumers as well,” Kuhn said.

The company also unveiled its new QNX Acoustics Management Platform, which allows things like two-way communication between the driver and passengers sitting in the third row of an SUV, for instance, without the need to yell.

BlackBerry has been putting a greater emphasis on software after its smartphones fell out of fashion.

Ottawa-based QNX was founded in 1980, and acquired by BlackBerry in 2010. Its clients include Ford, General Motors, Hyundai and Volkswagen.

With files from The Canadian Press



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