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You’ll Never Believe Who’s Getting Into The Auto Industry

You’ll Never Believe Who’s Getting Into The Auto Industry

One company that used to be known for its hardware is now betting big on automotive software.

I’m willing to bet you never thought you’d buy a BlackBerry (NYSE: BB) again, but chances are the next new car you purchase will have BlackBerry software built-in.

The company has finally pivoted away from smartphones and is focusing nearly all of its energy on software.

Pulling the plug on its smartphones has left the company with its QNX operating system, and the future of that system is in the automotive space. And nowhere was that more evident than at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit where BlackBerry CEO John Chen introduced the company’s new cyber-security system, Jarvis.

Jarvis, which was released Monday, identifies vulnerabilities in the software used in cars. According to BlackBerry, Jarvis scans and delivers insights within minutes, a process that would typically take multiple experts a lot of time to find.

“Connected and autonomous vehicles require some of the most complex software ever developed, creating a significant challenge for automakers who must ensure the code complies with industry and manufacturer-specific standards while simultaneously battle-hardening a very large and tempting attack surface for cyber-criminals,” said Chen in a press release.

Driverless cars are made up of multiple components from cameras to sensors and other software. This means that hackers could find and exploit vulnerabilities in any one layer of a car’s make up. Many industry experts have voiced concerns about driverless cars being prime targets for hackers.

Chen said that “BlackBerry software powers 60% of connected cars on the road today and has the No.1 market share in telematics and infotainment.” BlackBerry is already working with dozens of manufacturers including Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Fiat/Jeep/Chrysler.

BlackBerry has been trialing Jarvis with a few automakers including Jaguar Land Rover. The company said Jarvis will be offered on a pay-as-you-go basis, and will be customized according to the needs of the manufacturer. A manufacturer can use Jarvis to scan their software in a car at each stage of production.

The company’s shift into the automotive space has already paid off for BlackBerry. In addition to Jarvis, BlackBerry has announced recent partnerships with Chinese internet giant Baidu, and chipmakers Nvidia and Qualcomm, which have seen the stock pushed to its highest price in more than four years.

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