Economy

BlackBerry partners with China's Baidu on autonomous vehicle tech

BlackBerry partners with China's Baidu on autonomous vehicle tech

BlackBerry Ltd (BB, BB.TO) was surging Wednesday, at one point climbing nearly 8% to a session high of $12.94 a share, after the smartphone company said it has signed a letter of intent with Chinese online retailer Baidu ( BIDU ) that would make BlackBerry's operating system the foundation for Baidu's Apollo autonomous-driving platform. These include leading automakers, as well as tech companies including Microsoft, Nvidia, Intel and many others. However, we may start to see their dominance threatened as more companies drive progress forward - an overall benefit for the consumer, but disappointing news for Tesla. Overall, BlackBerry's software is in about 60 percent of the vehicles on the road.

BlackBerry shares rose as much as 7.8% to $12.96 in NY trading on Wednesday.

"BlackBerry QNX has established itself as the OS platform for safety-certified production-based systems", said Li Zhenyu, general manager of Baidu's Intelligent Driving Group.

What can we expect from this partnership between BlackBerry and Baidu? The Apollo system offers tools for auto companies to use when designing autonomous vehicles, and the integration of BlackBerry QNX will make an already excellent technology that much better. By integrating the BlackBerry QNX OS with the Apollo platform, we will enable carmakers to leap from prototype to production systems. These deals are all expected to begin to generate revenue for the company in 2019 and its stock prices surged as a result of the implications that QNX could have on the burgeoning self-driving vehicle industry.

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Jeremy Kaplan, editor in chief of Digital Trends , tweeted that Pai "realized that the tech industry kinda despises him". Pai has been widely criticized after his FCC voted to roll back net neutrality legislation that protected consumers.

The new agreement will see the two tech companies collaborate on the development of self-driving vehicle technology.

The advancement from entertainment and mapping software to a full-blown self-driving vehicle software is an ambitious jump, as the technology is far more demanding. At least, that's what a newly-announced partnership between BlackBerry and Chinese web giant Baidu would lead you to believe. In July of last, year Baidu unveiled the project's first vehicle manufacturing partners, declaring Apollo to be the "Android of the autonomous driving industry".

Baidu, China's largest search engine provider, has been building the Apollo system and signing up dozens of partners around the world in a bid to eventually become a dominant automotive software company.


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