The CEO of BlackBerry, John Chen has told shareholders that the company’s strength in security, privacy and interconnectivity will enable it to be a major player in the emerging market for self-driving and connected cars — but that it may take a decade for them to become common.
The Calgary Herald reports the Canadian company — which has moved into primarily a software and service company since Chen joined in late 2013 — is working with a host of automotive parts makers, semiconductor developers and big name auto companies, including Ford Motors and Jaguar Land Rover.
But the report says Chen said fully autonomous vehicles, guided by wireless networks, will probably remain a rarity for some time to come because of the complex task of developing the technology but also due to the necessary public policies.
“Let’s say (in) 2021, you’re not going to see a lot of them — if there are any,” it quotes him as saying. “My speculation is ten years (from now) is probably closer to the truth than three years.”
The Calgary Herald adds that BlackBerry QNX launched testing of a self-driving car in October in what was billed as the first on-street test of an autonomous vehicle in Canada after opening an innovation centre in late 2016.
Chen said that, for now, BlackBerry’s major revenue source from the automotive sector is through infotainment systems using software from its QNX division. An even bigger source of revenue for the company is its secure software for enterprise customers, while whatever revenue it receives from smartphones comes through licensing agreements.