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Mar 22, 2018

BlackBerry, Jaguar Land Rover sign deal to work on connected cars

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Waterloo, Ont.-based technology company BlackBerry and the U.K.’s Jaguar Land Rover have announced a multi-year deal to develop technology for the luxury carmaker’s next generation of vehicles.

BlackBerry said it will licence its QNX operating system and Certicom technology to Jaguar Land Rover, and assign a team of engineers to help develop electronic controls for its cars for projects like infotainment systems.

While BlackBerry’s QNX platform has been used to run infotainment systems in vehicles for some time, it has recently been part of a number of deals in which the tech company is becoming more entrenched in the self-driving car market.  

“We’re are at a pivotal moment, where innovative automakers, such as Jaguar Land Rover, are realizing they need to take an active role in defining the software architecture for their vehicles,” said John Wall, head of BlackBerry QNX, in a statement Thursday.

“Connected and autonomous vehicles will react and drive based on rich data. Our platforms help process data efficiently and keep it secure and trusted,” Wall added.

Financial terms of the agreement were not immediately disclosed.

The deal follows BlackBerry’s announcement in January that it is partnering with Chinese internet giant Baidu to develop self-driving car technology after similar agreements with U.S. tech giant Qualcomm and Japan’s Denso.

SOFTWARE PUSH

In December, BlackBerry reported third-quarter results that beat market expectations, boosted by a more than 11 per cent increase in business software and services sales. The company is set to announce its latest earnings next week.

BlackBerry’s board also announced last week it is extending chief executive John Chen’s contract by another five years in a stock-based compensation package that could be worth more than US$300 million.

Chen has been at the helm of BlackBerry’s transformation from a smartphone hardware maker to a software driven business.

BlackBerry shares are up more than 20 per cent from the start of this year.