BlackBerry is largely known for their business-oriented phones, but the company has set its sights on another project. The company has partnered with Chinese internet giant Baidu to develop self-driving car software.
Self-Driving Car Software
Although the technology has yet to gain any widespread traction, self-driving car software continues to advance at a rapid pace. The potential for a future filled with automated automotives fuels the passion and research of companies like Tesla, who are leading the charge towards a safer and more convenient commute.
While it may be many years before we see the majority of customers using self-driving car software, more and more companies are hopping on board and offering their own take on the technology – likely hoping to develop a breakthrough and capture a significant portion of this largely untapped market.
Most people think of Tesla when it comes to self-driving car software – and for good reason. Elon Musk’s company is by far the most developed when it comes to this groundbreaking tech. However, we may start to see their dominance threatened as more companies drive progress forward – an overall benefit for the consumer, but disappointing news for Tesla.
Currently, operators of a car are 100% responsible for ensuring safety on the road. As self-driving car software continues to advance, it’s possible that roads will be far safer than they are currently. However, at this current point, the technology isn’t advanced enough to take the place of a human’s decision making. Until we drive on roads made up almost entirely of automated cars, the utility of the software will still be limited.
The current self-driving car software technology is already relatively robust, but there’s still much room for improvement. A partnership between BlackBerry and Chinese internet company Baidu will soon add their expertise to the field, after a recently-signed deal.
BlackBerry and Baidu
A partnership between BlackBerry and Baidu has the potential to add to the rapid advancement of self-driving car software technology. Baidu is set to bundle BlackBerry’s QNX vehicle operating system with their Apollo self-driving car platform. The Apollo system offers tools for auto companies to use when designing autonomous vehicles, and the integration of BlackBerry QNX will make an already excellent technology that much better. Also added will be BlackBerry’s more robust in-car entertainment software – an area in which Apollo was previously lacking.
While BlackBerry may be a relative newcomer to the self-driving car software scene, the BlackBerry QNX unit has been a leader in developing entertainment and mapping programs for vehicles for quite some time. The transition with the BlackBerry / Baidu partnership into autonomous technology is a natural segue, and may revolutionize this unit of their company.
The advancement from entertainment and mapping software to a full-blown self-driving car software is an ambitious jump, as the technology is far more demanding. Safety on the road is a top priority and an error with autonomous navigation is much more dire than an error with your music. The partnership with Baidu may give BlackBerry the tools they need to break into this new industry, but it may be a long road if they hope to catch up with industry powerhouses like Tesla.
Partnering with Baidu is a smart choice. As China’s largest search engine provider, it has been signing up dozens of companies around the world in hopes to eventually establish themselves as a self-driving car software powerhouse. The company has some significant resources, and has recently pledged $1.5 billion over the next three years to establish self-driving car software projects.
As mentioned above, self-driving car software is still very much in its infancy. It’s a decently developed and very safe technology, with many implementations like Google Earth’s driverless cars reporting almost 0 accidents while racking up thousands of miles. We’re still very much at the ground floor when it comes to this quickly growing field, and with partnerships such as that between BlackBerry and Baidu, we may see the industry become much more competitive rather than near-monopolized by Tesla. It may be a few years before we see the results of this collaboration, but the prospect of continued advancements in this exciting new field has industry professionals and the general public eagerly anticipating a new take on self-driving car software.