A self-driving car equipped with the BlackBerry QNX autonomous vehicle software has completed its first road test in the public streets of Ottawa as a part of the Canadian tech company’s broader autonomous driving push. BlackBerry took to live video streaming service Periscope to share a video clip of the demonstration showing what looks like a Lincoln MKZ luxury crossover that carries Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, councilor Marianne Wilkinson and BlackBerry QNX general manager John Wall during the autonomous drive test.
The demonstration was conducted late last week and marks the first time that the BlackBerry QNX platform was used to operate a vehicle on public roads. It is likely that more drive tests for the software system will occur in the future as development of BlackBerry QNX advances. The platform was created as a result of a partnership between BlackBerry Limited and Delphi Automotive PLC announced last month. The partnership aims to accelerate development of the core artificial intelligence technology that powers these autonomous vehicles and beef up security for Delphi’s Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP). To do that, BlackBerry’s 64-bit QNX 7.0 operating system will be used to host Delphi Automotive’s Ottomatika software algorithms and middleware. The CSLP will be formally introduced in 2019, though it remains unclear when BlackBerry plans to roll out its QNX OS for autonomous vehicles. Quite unsurprisingly, however, BlackBerry QNX has already complied with various safety certification standards including the ISO 26262 ASIL D as well as the certification requirements set by IEC 61508 SIL 3 for automation systems used in industries. That is thanks to BlackBerry QNX’s features including the microkernel architecture, file encryption, adaptive time partitioning, high availability framework, anomaly detection, and policy-based access control. The operating system also works with both ARM v8 and Intel x86-64 chipsets.
BlackBerry began to show its interest in the self-driving segment during last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, where the company exhibited cars capable of detecting obstacles on their path and connecting with other vehicles on the road to avoid accidents. Then in December of last year, BlackBerry started working on a research center in Ottawa, Ontario, designed for autonomous driving. It remains to be seen what BlackBerry plans for its autonomous driving ecosystem in the future.