CES: BlackBerry on the software-defined car - Just Auto
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CES: BlackBerry on the software-defined car

By Matthew Beecham 07 Jan 2022 (Last Updated January 7th, 2022 12:43)

BlackBerry is using the CES this week to reveal some smart car innovations, including its BlackBerry IVY, a cloud-connected software ecosystem. To learn more, we spoke to Sarah Tatsis, Senior Vice President, IVY Platform Development, Blackberry.

CES: BlackBerry on the software-defined car
Sarah Tatsis

What is the headline message that BlackBerry is putting out at this year’s CES?

At CES 2022, BlackBerry is showing that it is laying the groundwork for the software-defined vehicles of the future. The future of mobility is here, and BlackBerry is helping to unlock its vast potential for OEMs, Tier 1s and end-users alike.

BlackBerry will also demonstrate BlackBerry IVY for the first time at CES 2022. The Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform is a cloud-connected software ecosystem developed in partnership with AWS. The demonstration showcases powerful use cases that can be enabled via the platform in the form of enhanced predictions, intelligent recommendations and in-car payment capabilities that utilize in-vehicle data from multiple sensors.

With software, computing and automation all embedded into vehicles, the data generated inside cars is limitless – and with it, opportunities for new services for drivers. From paying for fuel or tolls with the touch of a button to receiving insights into how far the vehicle’s latest charge-up will go based on driving patterns; drivers can now get personalised solutions direct from their dashboard.

How does harnessing the data produced by cars bring benefits to drivers and passengers?

Automakers can use the actionable insights produced by an Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform to create responsive in-vehicle services that enhance driver and passenger experiences.

In the past, the highly specific skills required to interact with this data, as well as the challenges of accessing it from within contained vehicle subsystems, have limited developers’ abilities to innovate quickly and bring new solutions to market to keep up with the booming automotive market.

However, newly possible experiences are reshaping and setting a new standard for in-car experience thanks to technology like BlackBerry IVY. For example, the platform could leverage vehicle data to recognize driver behaviour and hazardous conditions such as icy roads, and then recommend that a driver enable relevant vehicle safety features such as traction control, lane-keeping assist, or adaptive cruise control. IVY could then provide automakers with feedback on how and when those safety features are used, allowing them to make targeted investments to improve vehicle performance.

BlackBerry IVY enables machine learning models and other algorithms to be easily deployed and run in-vehicle to generate predictive insights and inferences, making it possible for automakers to offer in-vehicle experiences that are highly personalised and able to take action based on those insights.

What does it take to ensure the safety and security of today’s hyper-connected vehicles against malicious threats and malware?

Today’s automakers are all too aware of the risks of cyber attackers – especially as the industry moves further towards automation and autonomous vehicles. However, safety certification can also be a huge burden—and an almost insurmountable challenge when you use software of unknown provenance (SOUP).

Using a pre-certified microkernel OS or embedded hypervisor for building safety-critical systems can significantly reduce the scope, cost, risk and duration of your certification processes—and allows you to run mixed criticality systems on the same SoC. BlackBerry’s technologies are helping to accelerate compliance reducing the scope of system certification, and we also provide functional safety training and safety services to help customers successfully navigate their next certification project.

The broad portfolio of BlackBerry QNX solutions (which includes BlackBerry IVY) helps automakers and Tier 1s design and develop high-performance, safe, secure and reliable software. Safety from threats is fundamental; BlackBerry software is backed by decades of trusted professional services — we have never missed an SOP date.   

How can automotive vendors keep pace with the innovative product development ongoing in the market today, whilst keeping their vehicles secure?

BlackBerry IVY allows automakers to normalise the data coming from sensors in the vehicle, allowing software developers to easily create enhanced in-vehicle services and experiences for drivers that can be deployed over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Being able to see in real-time how the platform enables all this is incredibly powerful and a great catalyst to help those from across the transportation industry re-imagine all that is possible when you have the right tool, and I’m sure there will be no shortage of these ‘light bulb’ moments when visitors see it for themselves.

BlackBerry has recently added BMW to their roster providing QNX, the market leader for safety-certified embedded software in automotive, for a broad range of safety-related systems.

What is in store for BlackBerry, connected vehicles and safety/security in 2022?

This year, automotive transportation will be defined by two domains: the driving function and the in-car user experience. Now, as the driving function becomes more automated and autonomous thanks to advanced driver assistance systems, the user experience becomes more pronounced and important.

We’ll see autonomous driving, safety components and other features as a choice for a downloadable app rather than a dealer option. We’ll see app after app pop up from OEMs, technology companies, telcos and smaller players all looking to serve consumer demand for automated driving, connectivity, convenience and shared mobility.

As connected and EVs become more widespread, it will be important for automakers and security developers to continue to work collaboratively on new holistic approaches to address the ever-changing threat landscape.  This includes incorporating best in class cybersecurity practices, similar to how we protect other critical infrastructure.

Is there any such thing as a cyber secure car? 

Absolutely. BlackBerry IVY is welcoming an era of invention to the in-vehicle experience and helping create new applications, services, and opportunities that stay way ahead of the automotive curve, without compromising safety, security, or customer privacy.

Nowadays, all vehicles are effectively computers on wheels. Cybercriminals know this, and the attacks are coming. As such, it is critical that vehicle design incorporate security from the planning stages and throughout the lifecycle of the vehicle.

A best practice for vehicle cybersecurity is an approach initially conceived by the NSA called “defense in depth,” which uses multiple layers of security to defend against potential hacks. Even more so than gas-powered vehicles, this is essential for EVs given the sheer number of connections they utilize – starting with home and public charging stations, to connected infotainment systems and GPS communicating with external data sources.  

How do you see the digital cockpit evolving? What other changes do you predict? 

BlackBerry is right at the forefront of cockpit innovation, through the BlackBerry IVY platform. At CES 2022, we have announced its integration into PATEO’s intelligent Digital Cockpit solution. The data-driven insights generated in continuous real-time will allow for accurate prediction of the battery State of Charge (SoC), State of Health (SoH), and projected vehicle range.

Vehicle cabins will eventually evolve to serve drivers and passengers alike as all-in-one communication, information, productivity and entertainment hubs. Consumers can very likely expect an in-cabin experience that essentially is an extension of their digital home or office environment.

What this all ends up looking like is of course up to the automakers. Over time, I see a combination of media content, vehicle-specific information and consumer-centric information merging as the automakers look to deliver a seamless and safe “consumer-first” experience in the car with a careful eye on safety and driver distraction hence why much of this will be targeted at front-seat and rear-seat passengers first.

Are you scouting for start-ups at this event? If so, in what areas? 

We are always keen to speak to startups that believe they can push the future of automotive forward, with the power of BlackBerry IVY.

The BlackBerry IVY Innovation Fund was established last year to help data-driven automotive ecosystem providers turbocharge their innovation and bring new products and applications to market using BlackBerry’s Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform, BlackBerry IVY.

The fund is investing in startups focused on developing data-driven solutions that can benefit from BlackBerry IVY’s AI insights and support from BlackBerry and AWS. 

How are you feeling about 2022 – both in terms of business prospects and more generally?

We are confident that 2022 will be a fantastic year for BlackBerry itself, as well as a strong opportunity for nations to make strides in cybersecurity and automotive development, and for our customers to create brilliant, safe, and secure customer experiences.

As well as demonstrating IVY for the first time at CES, 2022 will be a thrilling year as we are set to pass the significant milestone of our QNX software being embedded in over 200 million vehicles worldwide. This means they are secured against threats, ensuring the safety of passengers and drivers, and empowering automakers to reach for the data-driven future of automotive.

2022 will be another exciting year as the pace of innovation will continue including the further ramp-up of the software-defined car, and we at BlackBerry are positioned well to support its enablement with our BlackBerry QNX product portfolio and BlackBerry IVY.

Software supply chain security will be more important than ever in 2022, following attacks last year, and new challenges like quantum computing and 5G targeting will require new approaches for customers. The entire cyber community must recognize these threats, and come together to predict and tackle them, in the automotive industry and beyond. BlackBerry is proud to be an invaluable part of this for our customers in 2022.