BlackBerry Partners With Auto Makers to Advance Over-the-Air Technology


Credit to Alden Jewell, Auto Historian for the photo!

Auto technology has come a long way since the Model-T, but in the same way early vehicles required mechanical tune-ups, today’s modern cars—with 30 to 100 computers—need software maintenance and optimization. Using the same technology it uses to keep the software in its smartphones updated, BlackBerry is now working with car manufacturers to update vehicle software via wireless networks, known as over-the-air (OTA) communication.

Auto makers around the world are eager to adopt OTA technology as it can truly transform the vehicle experience—enabling and simplifying the delivery of new, compelling features to their customers long after the initial sale. Software updates can refresh a vehicle with new features and services as they become available, keeping the car up to date with the latest upgrades and capabilities. Drivers will also save time as system updates are delivered seamlessly and securely without the need to schedule maintenance appointments. And vehicle owners are just as enthusiastic. Last year, a Gartner survey revealed that 40 percent of owners would “definitely want to get” or were at least “likely to get” the ability for wireless software updates in a new car.

The backbone for millions of infotainment and embedded automobile computing systems is QNX Software Systems, a small but powerful operating system. It’s the dynamic combination of OTA and QNX that is making cars “smarter” and changing the way drivers interact with their vehicles. QNX-based digital instrument clusters combine virtual speedometers with navigation displays, backup cameras, and other content to provide drivers with the most appropriate information for every drive mode or road condition. The software also enables car infotainment systems to connect seamlessly to Bluetooth phones, MP3 players, USB sticks, and a variety of other devices and services.

QNX and OTA solutions that can offer a secure, cloud-based service free manufacturers from the complexity and overhead of creating and maintaining their own internal OTA infrastructure so they can focus on what they do best—enhancing the driver’s experience. It’s clear we’re entering a new era of mobile computing in which mobile end points can be connected securely to create innovative opportunities that enhance vehicle security and the driver’s experience. Whatever software systems roll out next, drivers are sure to be in for an exciting ride.

What sorts of updates would you like your car to get via OTA updates? Let us know in the comments.

About Luke Reimer

@Luke_Reimer is a Senior Marketing Manager at BlackBerry helping to design, launch, and manage enterprise marketing programs - particularly concerning content across digital mediums. Beyond spreading BlackBerry goodness in enterprise communities, you can find Luke cooking up a storm, out on his motorcycle (when Canadian weather allows), or digging into a good science fiction book.

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  • mb

    Hopefully these updates are better than the current BB10.1 MR update where I lost all my text messages! Imagine driving tour car and there comes an update and suddenly your indicators don’t work or worse your break!

    I have a Z10 on Vodafone UK: please give me back my text messages!

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  • sean shen

    None. I want my car be ALWAYS in the same state I know it is.

    The Windows update to my desktop has created enough nightmare. I am terrified to imagine this happens to my car.

    But QNX is definitely the future of mobile computing including mobile data centers that replace those humongus data centers. But for now I would rather see bb focus on phone and desktop (the vacancy with ms downfall).

    Yes, QNX for car is great but please DO NOT update my car ota. I don’t mind driving to the dealership or doing it manually in the know.

    Thank you.

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  • benjamin

    Keeping the GPS up to date is a must have.

    But OTA is a silent derivative of the user experience. Not an achievement in itself.

    Bringing more ecosystem interaction like a foursquare behaviour while driving.
    Update Engine or car setting for max fuel efficiency or power.
    Using the smartphone as a tethering or proxy for link between home and car if car not in home network range for music database update
    Car opening and close via NFC (keyless)
    Car settings on smartphone and ability to pre heat, defrost etc.
    Blackberry protect like plan for the car
    Smartgrid monitoring for ecars

    Everything is subject to OTA update, but the user experience in term of concept should prevail… no?

  • Vinnib

    I’m new to this. What are the possibilities? How about being able to tune my car based on season / feedback on how engine and other components are working. New settings could be sent to car to change the tuning.

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