BlackBerry may no longer be making their own smartphones, but that doesn't mean the company is going to fade into obscurity. The company is working on a new research center in Ottawa, Ontario for self-driving tech. Many may not think of BlackBerry when it comes to self-driving cars yet, but that was a big part of QNX, which they acquired in 2010. So the software and engineers are there to make it a reality. But in 2016, they are far, far behind the competition. Especially with companies like Ford, General Motors, Waymo, and even Uber testing their own autonomous vehicles on public roads right now.
There are currently three companies that are permitted to test self-driving cars in Ontario, and BlackBerry is one of those companies. According to reports, BlackBerry will be using Lincoln vehicles (a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company) that feature their autonomous vehicle hardware and software. BlackBerry and Ford already have an agreement in place for doing just this. The agreement also includes security software and infotainment, so this has been long in the making for the Canadian smartphone maker.
While BlackBerry hasn't had a good decade, they are still looking for a way to turn things around. They recently signed a deal with TCL to build upcoming BlackBerry smartphones and have killed off their hardware unit. The company is hoping that by jumping into the self-driving tech scene, they'll be able to get back on their feet. But again, much like with smartphones, BlackBerry is well behind their competition. Considering they are literally just getting started, while other tech companies and auto makers are close to mass producing these autonomous vehicles. Although, they would be the first company to start testing these vehicles in Canada, as most companies have been testing in the US (primarily, Michigan and California) with a few taking place in the United Kingdom and China.
It's important to note here that BlackBerry hasn't actually announced this new research center just yet. It's still rumored, with it originating with Reuters. It's supposed to be announced today, but as of right now, there's nothing from the Canadian smartphone maker on this new research center. So we'll need to take this all with a grain of salt for now.