BlackBerry QNX, Renovo collaborate on data management platform

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Collecting, managing and analyzing data from self-driving, connected and electric vehicles has become key for automakers and developers as they advance vehicle technology.

The demand for different metrics on the data from these vehicles has led to a unit of cellphone giant BlackBerry Limited and automotive software company Renovo collaborating on a new platform.

The two companies announced on Friday, ahead of the start of CES, that they are combining BlackBerry’s QNX automotive operating system with Renovo’s Insight artificial intelligence automotive data platform to create a management system for new vehicle tech.

The platform collects data on vehicle technologies, such as advanced driver assistance systems, with the goal of helping automakers further develop these features.

“Developing the advanced driver assistance features for cars turns out to be a very complicated and very iterative type of development,” Renovo CEO Chris Heiser told Automotive News, saying ADAS systems and other advanced vehicle technologies require frequent software changes.

“The more time you can do that software cycle, the faster you do that software cycle, the better your software.”

With the BlackBerry QNX and Renovo data platform, for example, automakers looking to develop better ADAS or improve the performance of vehicles in different conditions can gather data and examples of that specific scenario from its production fleet.

Using the indexed and searchable data, developers can then decide to retrain their vehicle’s algorithms or adjust other variables.

Aside from ADAS, other vehicle technologies that could benefit from analytics include electric vehicle batteries. Some newer companies in the automotive space provide management systems and analytics that evaluate EV battery metrics, down to the performance of individual cells within the battery pack.

“Tesla has kind of shown the way to the industry of doing this at scale. Tesla doesn’t just develop software rapidly preproduction and post-production. They’re learning from their 600,000 production cars, and this allows them to constantly innovate and develop and modify and update their core product in the field,” Heiser said.

“The reality is, is that most OEMs don’t learn very much from their cars once they ship the car directly, and so we are changing that,” Heiser added. “For customers of a selective solution like this, they’re going to hit the ground running faster. They’re going be able to get to production faster and they’re going to get the benefit of having this real time patch data pipeline running more quickly.”

Heiser could not provide details for how many vehicles or which automakers are currently using the autonomous data platform, but he said he expects to “become a major part of the production output” of Renovo customers and ship thousands of cars with the platform within the next one to two years. Currently, 150 million vehicles have embedded existing BlackBerry QNX technology.

The automotive data management platform won a CES 2020 Innovation Award.

BlackBerry has been expanding its footprint in automotive, seeking out industry partnerships and transitioning from a traditional cellphone company to a key player in the vehicle technology space.

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