BlackBerry bids au revoir to smartphones and bonjour to smart cars

blackberry autonomous car priv official 01a
BlackBerry is trading smartphones for smart cars. On Monday, the former mobile phone manufacturer will be switching gears and opening an autonomous driving research center, in a ceremony to be attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. BlackBerry has remained tight-lipped as of yet regarding any details about the new center, though we can expect further information once the research facility is officially opened.

While BlackBerry first rose to fame for its square-shaped phones with their signature physical keyboard (a feature that is now sorely missed by the Samsung and Apple generation), the company has said that it’s no longer in the mobile business (though it is making one final phone as a last hurrah). Rather, the Canadian company is investing more in its subsidiary QNX in hopes of developing advanced driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technology, Reuters reports.

“What QNX is doing is providing the infrastructure that allows you to build higher-level algorithms and to also acquire data from the sensors in a reliable manner,” said Sebastian Fischmeister, a University of Waterloo associate professor with ties to QNX since 2009.

“Our play in this is that we provide the software foundation for these high-performance compute platforms,” QNX head John Wall said in an interview on Friday.

Soon, BlackBerry will be testing cars with autonomous features in Ontario, and the company has also signed a deal allowing it to work directly with Ford Motor Co. in an effort to bring self-driving ridesharing vehicles to the public by 2021. Similar partnerships are already underway with “more than one or two” other automakers, Wall said, though it might take some time for any progress to be fully realized.

“If they can prove that they have the whole package and the security, they could absolutely dominate the market” for autonomous vehicle operating systems, Sam Fiorani, an analyst at Auto Forecast Solutions, told Reuters.

So don’t cry for BlackBerry, friends — it’ll still be with us, just in a different form.

Cars

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.
Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Cars

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.
Cars

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.
Cars

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.