BlackBerry has penned a deal with Ford that will see it developing car software, the company has announced. This could prove a vital part of the company’s efforts to grow beyond the bounds of its failed mobile business, but the extent of BlackBerry’s automotive efforts aren’t clear at this time. Ford isn’t new to using BlackBerry-built software, though it has previously acquired it through Panasonic. With this new deal, the automaker will be getting it straight from BlackBerry.
The software used by Ford comes from BlackBerry’s QNX division to be precise; by entering into this deal, BlackBerry will be able to provide Ford with the automotive software directly, eliminating the middle man and likely expanding the roster of car software it provides. Whether there is or will be any self-driving technology coming from the company is unknown at this point, however.
QNX has proven fruitful for BlackBerry, though it has been tasked thus far almost solely with the infotainment aspect of automotive software. Ford has used the company’s software as part of its Sync 3 infotainment system, and that’s likely where this expanded partnership will focus, at least initially.
However, BlackBerry is no stranger to autonomous vehicle software, having dabbled in it previously. Automakers are increasingly implementing autonomous features into their cars, including things like automatic braking, and there’s no signs of that changing. It is possible we could see BlackBerry produce software for other automakers in the future, and those deals may include self-driving elements even if that doesn’t end up being the case with Ford.