Blackberry shares rise on Baidu agreement

on Jan 4, 2018

Blackberry shares rose Wednesday, following an announcement from the tech firm that it has signed an agreement with Chinese web firm Baidu, to develop new technology for the autonomous car industry.

Blackberry shares closed 12.85% higher at CA$16.95 Wednesday in Canada, the highest level since 2013. Baidu shares, meanwhile, ended up 1.30% at $245.55.

Blackberry’s QNX system

The deal will see the two businesses work together to develop technology suitable for the self-driving car market. Blackberry’s QNX operating system is already used in some cars as the basis for the in-car entertainment and information systems.

Blackberry has also recently developed new software to operate complex in-car safety-related systems.

Investors likely approve of this latest deal, as there is a widely held view the QNX system could become the ‘Android’ operating system of the autonomous car industry.

Agreement details

The press release announcing the new agreement is on Blackberry’s website and gives brief details of the deal.

Among other plans, Blackberry’s QNX operating system will integrate with Baidu’s existing software, CarLife, which is available in a number of Chinese cars.

"Joining forces with Baidu will enable us to explore integration opportunities for multiple vehicle subsystems including ADAS, infotainment, gateways, and cloud services," said John Wall, Senior Vice President and GM of BlackBerry QNX.

"Baidu has made tremendous strides in Artificial Intelligence and deep learning. These advancements paired with their high-definition maps and BlackBerry's safety-critical embedded software and expertise in security will be crucial ingredients for autonomous vehicles,” Wall added.

Meanwhile Baidu was also upbeat on the agreement.

"BlackBerry QNX has established itself as the OS platform for safety-certified production-based systems," said Li Zhenyu, General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group, Baidu.

"We aim to provide automakers with a clear and fast path to fully autonomous vehicle production, with safety and security as top priorities,” Zhenyu said. “Together, we will work toward a technological and commercial ecosystem for autonomous driving, intelligent connectivity, and intelligent traffic systems.”