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BlackBerry and Amazon are teaming up at CES to make cars smarter, more secure

The two companies are combining the secure QNX operating system with AWS' machine learning and "internet of things" smarts to bring cars further into the future.

California luxury EV maker Karma will be among the first to taste the fruits of the BlackBerry/Amazon Web Services partnership.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

Whether you're for or against connected cars, they're already becoming much more commonplace in markets around the world. While there's a lot of convenience inherent in having your vehicle connected to the outside world, it also means that data security is increasingly important.

Historically, vehicle software and hardware have lagged behind consumer tech by a considerable margin. Just look at the difference between the experience you have with your phone versus your car's infotainment system (excluding Apple CarPlay or Android Auto), and you'll get the idea. That kind of disparity isn't going to work as vehicles get smarter, so BlackBerry and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are teaming up to make them more secure and quicker to adapt.

Specifically, the two companies are taking BlackBerry's well-developed, relatively secure and widely employed QNX operating system and pairing it with AWS' internet-of-things and machine learning capabilities to create something called the Intelligent Connected Vehicle Software Platform that will allow vehicle manufacturers to securely access a vehicle's data. This new system was announced on Monday at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

But, like, why? Well, having fast and secure access to vehicle data means that a vehicle manufacturer can offer things like cockpit personalization and vehicle health monitoring as well as the rapid adoption of new driver assistance systems, and it can all be done without ever having to plug the vehicle into a dealer computer.

"By working with AWS, we can provide automakers with a unique foundational software platform that will allow them to build the next-generation connected and autonomous cars of the future," ohn Wall, senior vice president and co-head of BlackBerry Technology Solutions, said in a statement. "By combining our technologies and strengths into one dedicated cloud-based offering, we can ensure automakers have the tools they need to deliver the driving experience consumers want, without sacrificing on the security and reliability they need."

One of the first manufacturers to take advantage of this new partnership and its product will be Karma -- aka the Chinese-owned, California-based company that's been building and iterating on the vehicle known as the Fisker Karma since 2015.

"Combining the safety and security of QNX with AWS machine learning, IoT and edge services has the potential to speed the development of Karma's connected car ecosystem," said Lewis Liu, automotive vice president, business development and strategy of Karma. "Karma's vehicle platform is being used by technologists as a test bed to innovate, speed product development and ultimately to provide drivers with leading cybersecurity resources and predictive maintenance information via the latest artificial intelligence applications."

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