BlackBerry's QNX, Baidu to collaborate, integrate on autonomous cars

The Baidu partnership is the latest to highlight momentum for BlackBerry's QNX platform.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Video: Baidu anticipates fully autonomous vehicles on highways by 2020

BlackBerry said it will collaborate with Baidu to integrate its QNX operating system with Baidu's Apollo autonomous driving platform. For BlackBerry, the Baidu deal is the latest auto partnership to highlight QNX's traction as a platform.

In recent months, BlackBerry has announced auto partnerships with Delphi, Visteon, Qualcomm, and DENSO. QNX along with BlackBerry's Radar Internet of Things platform are seen as the company's key growth areas.

As for the Baidu partnership, BlackBerry said QNX will become the foundation for Baidu's Apollo. In addition, BlackBerry will integrate Baidu's CarLife smartphone integration system and its DuerOS artificial intelligence with its QNX infotainment tools.

Read also: BlackBerry, Qualcomm expand automotive partnership

With the Baidu deal, BlackBerry positions QNX nicely for growth in China. BlackBerry's auto platform is being embedded via multiple OEM partnerships. Overall, BlackBerry's software is in about 60 percent of the vehicles on the road.

On BlackBerry's third quarter earnings conference call Dec. 20, CEO John Chen highlighted QNX's traction and success in expanding beyond infotainment. He noted:

We are now partnered with all the largest automotive industry chip suppliers. Technology areas in this particular collaboration covered by the expanded relationship includes over-the-air software services, secure credential management service, virtual cockpit controllers, telematics, electronic control gateways, digital instrument cluster and infotainment systems.

Analysts have noted that BlackBerry hasn't seen a financial bump from QNX yet. However, Raymond James analyst Steven Li noted that "the market is willing to pay up for QNX and its market position in future automotive platforms."

Read also: BlackBerry pens framework for securing connected and autonomous cars

For its fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 30, BlackBerry reported non-GAAP earnings of 3 cents a share on revenue of $226 million, down from $289 million a year ago. Most of those sales were software and services. BlackBerry reported a third quarter net loss of $275 million, but had total cash, cash equivalents, and investments of $2.5 billion.

BlackBerry said it expects its non-GAAP revenue to be between $920 million to $950 million for fiscal 2018.

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