BlackBerry surged during regular trading hours on the NASDAQ today after the company posted losses that weren’t as bad as expected and sales that beat analyst estimates. Shares received another boost after BlackBerry CEO John Chen said on the earnings call that the company will move into self-driving car technology.
BlackBerry wading further into auto industry
BlackBerry has already found some measure of success in the auto industry with its QNX infotainment system software. QNX is built into millions of vehicles, with big players like Ford opting to base their cars’ computer systems on it. Earlier this week, the struggling Canadian firm also said that it has partnered with Luxoft Holding to build semi-autonomous technology which is similar to the tech Tesla Motors uses in its vehicles.
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The news comes as no surprise as, according to Bloomberg, Chen has often spoke about how important it is to make vehicle software secure. Computers have become essential in vehicles today and are handling more and more tasks. Many cars are also connected to the internet so that they can receive over-the-air software updates, but the downside with this is that they become vulnerable to hackers without the proper security.
Security becoming even more important in car software
Chen has also been focusing on BlackBerry’s strongest area, which is mobile security, and combining security with self-driving car technology makes perfect sense for the company because we’ve already seen what hackers can do with current vehicle technology. There have been reports of hackers being able to gain access to a Tesla Model S and being able to turn off the car while it was driving slowly. Also hackers gained control of a Jeep Cherokee, killing the engine while it was driving down a highway.
When autonomous driving is added to vehicles, security becomes even more important because our vehicles could become even more deadly if hackers are able to take the control of them at will and cause violent crashes. Even as semi-autonomous features are added to vehicles, the risks from hackers are also on the rise as these features enable cars to stay within a lane on the highway. This poses a problem if these cars are not secure enough because hackers could simply shut off the semi-autonomous mode, taking the driver by surprise and potentially causing a wreck.
As of this writing, shares of BlackBerry were up 11.28% a $8.67 per share on the NASDAQ.