The once groundbreaking BlackBerry is as good as out of the smartphone-making game, but the Canadian company has been busy making software for connected devices, including smart cars. Now it has brought that part of its business to China.
This week, BlackBerry announced that it would power the Level 3 Driving Domain Controller from Xpeng, one of the most funded electric vehicle startups in China and Tesla's local challenger. Xpeng's intelligent cockpit contains the BlackBerry operating system QNX, which competes with Android and Linux in order to enter the next-gen models of automakers.
Between BlackBerry and Xpeng sits the middleman Desay SV, who specializes in system integrators for the automotive industry such as Aptiv. Desay SV, founded in 1986, has an illustrious past as a previous Sino-German joint venture in which Siemens was involved. The Huizhou-based company now supplies Tier 1 automotive brands and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in China and around the world.
The core of the Xpeng domain controller is NVIDIA's Xavier cockpit chip for automated cars. Hence, a large amount of the software and hardware in Xpeng's new car is based on foreign technology.
The mass-produced Xpeng model in the spotlight is an electric sports sedan with the number P7. It has a processing unit that can calculate the driving status of the vehicle and offers omnidirectional 360-degree perception with real-time monitoring of the environment to make safe driving decisions.
“Desay SV Automotive has extensive experience in the areas of intelligent cockpits, intelligent driving and networked services. With the security expertise of BlackBerry QNX, we can work together to address the diverse needs of an automotive industry that is in a major transition, "said John Wall, senior vice president and co-head of BlackBerry Technology Solutions, in a statement.
"To this end, it is a real privilege to have BlackBerry technology power the intelligent propulsion system in Xpeng Motors' innovative new P7 system."
The partnership comes about because Alibaba and Xiaomi have backed – Xpeng plans to raise up to $ 1.1 billion from its New York IPO. Chinese rivals Li Auto and NIO raised similar amounts on their US IPOs.