“We are at a pivotal moment, where automakers, such as Jaguar Land Rover, are realising they need to take an active role in defining the software architecture for their vehicles.”
Jaguar Land Rover has entered into an agreement with the technology company, Blackberry, to provide secure software for its next-generation connected vehicles, making them impenetrable to hackers attempting to take control which could endanger life. Blackberry, the company that made its name with the first generation of email-enabled mobile phones, said that the multi-year agreement would lead to a form of autonomous and connected vehicle tech that will allow them to react and drive based on what it called, rich data.
For the deal, Blackberry will license its QNX and Certicom technology to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and will also assign a team of engineers to help the Tata-owned car company to develop the new technology, known as Electronic Control Units (ECU). The first project that will be powered by the ECU will be an infotainment system that will control many of the car’s interior functions.
Blackberry said the move was taken by JLR, the car builder behind the Discovery and the Evoque, ahead of what are likely to be major changes in the vehicle market. “We are at a pivotal moment, where automakers, such as Jaguar Land Rover, are realising they need to take an active role in defining the software architecture for their vehicles,” said John Wall from BlackBerry’s QNX division.
JLR said it was hoping to ensure “the highest security required” for its connected vehicles. “Working with BlackBerry will enable us to develop the safe and secure next-generation connected car our customers want,” said Dave Nesbitt, vehicle engineering director at JLR.
The latest announcement from JLR and Blackberry comes at a time of heightened concern over the safety of connected and autonomous vehicles, some of which have shown to be susceptible to hacks that allows a third-party to gain control to activate everything from windscreen wipers to the brakes. The man at the head of the Tesla corporation, and considered something of a leading light in autonomous technology, Elon Musk, said last year that among the biggest risks for autonomous vehicles is “somebody achieving a fleet-wide hack”.
It was reported in February this year that autonomous vehicles in California could be allowed to be used on the US states roads and highways as early as April. However, that announcement came a matter of weeks before the death in California’s bordering state, Arizona, of a cyclist after she was hit by an Uber vehicle fitted with a self-driving system.
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