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BlackBerry teams with Canadian government to invest $350 million into autonomous vehicle...

By Shawn Knight · 6 replies
Feb 15, 2019
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  1. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BlackBerry CEO John Chen jointly announced the investment at BlackBerry’s campus Friday morning. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the government contributed $40 million from its Strategic Innovation Fund to help develop what Trudeau described as software that’ll serve as the “central nervous system” of future self-driving vehicles.

    The publication said BlackBerry committed $310.5 million of its own money which will help to create 800 new jobs and maintain 300 further positions over the next decade. The erstwhile mobile giant is also promising 1,000 co-op job placements for students from select Canadian post-secondary schools and will create scholarships for indigenous students and women.

    Richard Yu, a professor at Carleton University's school of information technology who has been collaborating with BlackBerry to develop and test self-driving autonomous vehicles, said Canada’s harsh weather has to be accounted for.

    “We cannot just use the technologies developed in the U.S., so we need to have some big investment, especially from the government and from local industry.”

    BlackBerry bowed out of the smartphone industry in 2016, handing off its rights to Chinese tech company TCL. It then announced the QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center (AVIC), a research center to create autonomous driving software.

    Second image courtesy Olivier Le Moal via Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. Reachable

    Reachable TS Evangelist Posts: 369   +183

    That's a lot of money to plow into something for which a such a high level of doubt exists.

    And what's this about systems being developed in the U.S. not being adequate? Some northern states in the U.S. get a huge amount of snow, and in the U.S. as a whole you can encounter any kind of extreme weather imaginable.

    This sounds very suspect.
  3. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,477   +644

    while you are correct some northern states do get similar weather, It won't account for the weather across the whole country of Canada. We get more snow, lower temps and longer winters.

    I am Canadian also!
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,518   +3,902

    The AV's have already proven themselves to the point that the various services are investing in the technology so the proof is there. The main issue is debugging the systems for the multitude of different urban driving situations that the human brain sorts out every day, but even it makes mistakes.

    Blackberry has just returned from the brink and should be investing in more stable, fully implemented markets where they lower their risk and boost the ability to make a profit. For a company that far removed itself from the technological cutting edge for so long this is a bold, perhaps even reckless move that could easily be avoided .......
  5. MaXtor

    MaXtor TS Maniac Posts: 254   +199

    Glad to know paying 53% income tax isn't going to waste... /endsarcasm
  6. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,473   +1,046

    They've been dealing with secure vehicle software (QNX) for many years now, and secure software in general for much longer.
    Just because they've bowed out of being a first party to making smartphones doesn't mean that they aren't (and weren't) working on cutting edge technology for all these years...

    Just a simple google search would tell you they've been making moves and investments towards AV for years now.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 15,074   +4,082

    The US states which deal with such harsh conditions, primarily the Dakotas, (sparsely populated), Michigan, Alaska and Maine, are practically in Canada anyway.

    Another issue for harsh climates, which is practically "the elephant in the room", is that all (?) current battery technologies, lose capacity in cold weather. Accordingly, range predictions are likely made at 72 F.

    Of course batteries today aren't as treacherous in cold weather as the now all but obsolete ni-cad. But in that regard, today's batteries still don't think it's summer, when it's definitely not.

    Besides, there are latitudes in Canada where people eat reindeer for fuel, ignoring the fossilization process completely. I seriously doubt if they're going to adopt "self-driving sleds" anytime soon. :rolleyes:

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