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BlackBerry's QNX team steers new OS toward car safety

QNX OS for Automotive Safety 1.0 puts safety first in a package supporting digital instrument clusters, heads-up displays, and more.


BlackBerry's car-focused subsidiary QNX has announced a new operating system for car safety.

Dubbed QNX OS for Automotive Safety 1.0, the operating system provides the back-end software for a wide range of in-car security features, including a heads-up display, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and digital instrument clusters.

The issue for car makers is finding a way to bridge the gap between safety and cost-effectiveness. ADAS and heads-up displays are viewed as improvements in overall car driver safety, but the don't come cheap. According to BlackBerry, its operating system will help reduce costs by providing a single platform with several car-safety features and software that automatically complies with automotive safety certifications, reducing car makers' costs related to getting those certifications.

QNX could have a bright future both in BlackBerry's portfolio and in the automotive industry. While the BlackBerry's smartphone business is on the rocks, QNX has been called by some analysts the firm's most important component. BlackBerry CEO John Chen earlier this year said that the division "is probably one of the crown jewels" at his company.

To this point, QNX has been middleware for in-car infotainment systems, and has attracted a wide range of car maker partners. With this move, QNX is now revving up for safety and security.

The new QNX OS is set to launch in the third quarter of 2014. On Wednesday and Thursday, QNX will show off a modified Mercedes-Benz CLA45 at the Telematics Conference in Novi, Mich., showcasing its new software in action.