Chinese internet tech giant Baidu will work with Canada’s BlackBerry in a partnership that will see QNX used as the basis for Baidu’s Apollo self-driving platform, and which will also see Baidu’s CarLife smartphone software for in-car use, DuerOS AI assistant and HD maps integrated into BlackBerry’s QNX infotainment software.
The partnership is a big one for BlackBerry, since it provides a way for the auto industry supplier to offer key features important in the Chinese market, which is the leading industry driving force in the automotive world today. For Baidu, it also means picking up a platform foundation for its open self-driving software project that has all the necessary vehicle industry safety certifications, and a proven track record.
Baidu has a number of high-profile partners signed up for its Apollo program (yes, the name’s similarity to the space-oriented Apollo program is intentional). These include leading automakers, as well as tech companies including Microsoft, Nvidia, Intel and many others. Its goal is to build something akin to the Android of self-driving, which is open to use by all with the goal of accelerating the pace of autonomous driving development.