Blackberry and Baidu confirm self-driving auto partnership


BlackBerry partnering with Beijing-based Baidu to speed up deployment of connected and autonomous vehicle technology to automakers and their suppliers.

"Given the importance of cameras as sensors for autonomous driving, we considered many aspects in our selection process for the Apollo platform including product roadmap, experience in automotive, and technical support for ecosystem platforms", said Mr. Zhenyu Li, VP and General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group at Baidu.

Apollo is an open autonomous driving platform released by Baidu which includes vehicle platform, hardware platform, software platform and cloud services, with the goal to provide an open, complete and reliable hardware, software and service system for automotive and autonomous driving partners.

"Baidu has made tremendous strides in Artificial Intelligence and deep learning", said John Wall, GM of Blackberry's QNX unit.

BlackBerry, which has developed software QNX Hypervisor 2.0 to run complex computer systems in vehicles, said Baidu will use its software for its self-driving open platform, Apollo. Given BlackBerry already works with auto industry heavyweights like Delphi, Qualcomm, and Denso, its contacts could come in very useful as Apollo tries to gain traction in self-driving vehicles. It provides a combination of cloud services, an open software stack, and reference hardware and vehicle platforms.

As the companies note in their press release, Apollo has attracted more than 70 partners worldwide, including equipment manufacturers, top automakers, developer platforms and tech startups. The project was named after the historic lunar landing program to illustrate its scale and complexity.

The partnership also includes integrating BlackBerry's more established in-car entertainment software into Apollo. With BlackBerry's pivot to a software-first company, such deals will only help in its turnaround efforts. The Company trades under the ticker symbols "BB" on the Toronto Stock Exchange and "BB" on the New York Stock Exchange.

Baidu, the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. Baidu's ADSs trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "BIDU".

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