BlackBerry in September officially exited the smartphone game, electing instead to allow Chinese tech company TCL to design, build, sell and support all future smartphones bearing the Canadian firm's name.

What many don't know, however, is that BlackBerry has been working on its second act for quite a while now. The culmination of BlackBerry's work in the sector came to a head on Monday with the announcement of the QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center (AVIC).

Housed within BlackBerry's existing QNX facility in Ottawa, the research center aims to develop production-ready software both independently and in cooperation with public and private sector partners. Specifically, QNX head John Wall said in a recent interview with Reuters that they want to provide the software foundation for high-performance compute platforms.

BlackBerry QNX has been supplying software platforms including telematics, infotainment, acoustics and instrument cluster systems to the automotive industry for two decades with deployments in more than 60 million vehicles around the globe.

BlackBerry Chairman and CEO John Chen said autonomous vehicles require software that is extremely sophisticated and highly secure, adding that their innovation track record in mobile security and their demonstrated leadership in automotive software makes them ideally suited to dominate the market for embedded intelligence in vehicles of the future.

Is that a far-fetched idea? Not necessarily.

Sam Fiorani, an analyst at Auto Forecast Solutions, told Reuters that if BlackBerry can prove that they have the whole package and the security, they could absolutely dominate the market.

Image courtesy Mark Blinch, Reuters