Car Industry

Ford boosts Canadian tech cred with BlackBerry injection

The Blue Oval is making a $375 million investment north of the border to bolster its connected-car and autonomy efforts, hiring 400 former BlackBerry engineers.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Since the early days of Sync -- and even before -- Ford has made no qualms about its commitment to making its entire range of cars among the smartest and best-connected on the road. On Thursday, the company announced a significant investment to ensure it maintains that advantage, spending $375 million ($500 million Canadian) to bring on hundreds of new engineers and establish the Ottawa Research and Engineering Centre.

Ford will hire a total of 400 former BlackBerry engineers as part of this move, 300 to be based in Canada. BlackBerry is the parent company of QNX, the low-level operating system that serves as the foundation for Sync 3, and is certainly a company with no shortage of mobile know-how. However, BlackBerry wrote to us to clarify that no engineers specifically from the BlackBerry QNX side of the house were involved in the transfer.

The hiring "more than doubles" the size of Ford's overall mobile connectivity team, who will be working on everything from greater infotainment capabilities to V2X communications and even autonomy. What's next? In-car portrait QWERTY keyboards, obviously.

Update, 2:38 p.m. Eastern: Article was updated based on communication with BlackBerry regarding the employee transfer.