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CES: BlackBerry QNX launches new car OS

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At CES in Las Vegas this week, BlackBerry announced its QNX Software Development Platform 7.0. This 64-bit OS is said to raise the bar for security and performance in cars.

At CES 2017 in Las Vegas this week, BlackBerry announced its most advanced and secure embedded operating system (OS) for the automotive industry. QNX Software Development Platform 7.0 (QNX SDP 7.0) is a 64-bit OS that “raises the bar for security and performance in cars”. At CES 2017, the technological capabilities of QNX SDP 7.0 is being demonstrated in BlackBerry QNX’s 2016 Jaguar XJ and 2017 Lincoln MKZ concept cars.

“With the push toward connected and autonomous vehicles, the electronic architecture of cars is evolving – from a multitude of smaller processors each executing a dedicated function, to a set of high performance domain controllers, powered by 64-bit processors and graphical processing units,” said John Wall, senior vice president and head of BlackBerry QNX.

“To develop these new systems, our automotive customers will need a safe and secure 64-bit OS that can run highly complex software, including neural networks and artificial intelligence algorithms. QNX SDP 7.0 is suited not only for cars, but also for almost any safety- or mission-critical application that requires 64-bit performance and advanced security. This includes surgical robots, industrial controllers and high-speed trains.”

BlackBerry provided the following information:

QNX SDP 7.0 provides high performance and enhanced kernel-level security through an array of features, including microkernel architecture, file encryption, adaptive time partitioning, a high availability framework, anomaly detection, and multi-level policy-based access control.

Featuring the next-generation QNX Neutrino Realtime OS and QNX Momentics Tool Suite, this reliable OS helps guard against system malfunctions, malware, and cyber attacks by implementing a multi-level, policy-driven security model that incorporates best-in-class security technology from BlackBerry. The OS also offers a safety pedigree proven by certification to ISO 26262 ASIL D (the highest level achievable) for automobiles and to IEC 61508 SIL 3 for industrial automation systems, and by compliance with IEC 62304 for life-critical Class III medical devices.

As automakers look to consolidate domain functions such as infotainment, telematics, and digital instrument clusters into a virtual cockpit controller, QNX SDP 7.0 provides a realtime OS that supports 64-bit for the ARMv8 and Intel x86-64 architectures, along with virtualization capabilities. QNX SDP 7.0 can help ensure that these automated systems perform all processes and actions reliably, within the pre-defined amount of time needed for successful and safe execution.

Must-See Concept Cars at CES

BlackBerry QNX is unveiling a Jaguar XJ concept car with a new digital cockpit design that combines the infotainment and instrument cluster functionality. It shows two operating systems running safely and securely on a single System-on-a-Chip (SoC) processor. BlackBerry QNX hypervisor software safely separates and isolates the infotainment system and graphics, meaning the infotainment system can safely re-start without affecting the instrument cluster. BlackBerry worked with Rightware Cluster UI to build the QNX Cluster graphics monitor that can detect failures in the safety system.

The Jaguar XJ concept car also features BlackBerry’s QNX Acoustics Management Platform (AMP) for clear high-definition in-car communication, active noise control, and engine sound enhancement.

BlackBerry QNX is also taking the wraps off of its autonomous Lincoln MKZ concept car, showing QNX SDP 7.0 capabilities in action on Renesas’ CES test track. BlackBerry QNX worked with Renesas, the University of Waterloo, and Polysync to develop the prototype vehicle that demonstrates Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities.

Using LiDAR, radar, forward-facing cameras, global positioning systems (GPS), and inertial measurement units (IMU), the car can detect obstacles on the road, anticipate dangerous driving situations, and present warnings to avoid collisions to keep drivers and passengers safe. The QNX Platform for ADAS processes data generated from the sensors in realtime, and also records and plays back the data off-line for feature development and testing.

Also on display at BlackBerry’s CES booth is a 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish model that is now shipping with BlackBerry QNX’s latest in-vehicle infotainment software technology. The new infotainment system is the control center, seamlessly integrating audio, hands-free communication and vehicle status technologies into the cabin. It also has an upgraded satellite navigation system with a quicker address input, advanced traffic information, and support for Apple CarPlay.

BlackBerry Radar

BlackBerry is also showcasing BlackBerry Radar, its secure end-to-end hardware and software asset tracking solution for the transportation and logistics industry. Radar provides more sensor readings, more often than any other solution on the market today. This allows customers to accurately monitor assets, manage yards, analyze utilization, measure efficiency, and reduce theft based on a near realtime view of the fleet.

Availability

QNX SDP 7.0 is the latest in a string of momentum updates BlackBerry has made in its software transformation, and comes less than a month after the company released a mobile-native, secure software platform for the Enterprise of Things, and two weeks after the unveiling of the BlackBerry QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre. The beta release of QNX SDP 7.0 is available now for evaluation and product development. General availability is scheduled for Q1 2017.

Cars

Auto rivals team up for connected car demo

Rivals BMW, Ford and Groupe PSA, maker of Peugeot and Opel cars, have teamed up with the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), Qualcomm Technologies and Savari for Europe’s first live demonstration of C-V2X direct communication technology operating across vehicles from multiple auto manufacturers.

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The live demonstration also featured a live showcase of C-V2X direct communication technology operating between passenger cars, motorcycles, and roadside infrastructure. C-V2X is a global solution for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication in support of improved automotive safety, automated driving and traffic efficiency.

The demonstration exhibited the road safety and traffic efficiency benefits of using C-V2X for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) collision avoidance, as well as Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connectivity to traffic signals and Traffic Management Centers (TMC). C-V2X was operated using real-time direct communications over ITS spectrum and demonstrated its ability to work without cellular network coverage, and underscores its commercial readiness for industry deployment as early as 2020. Superior performance and cost-effectiveness compared to other V2X technologies, along with forward-compatibility with 5G, make C-V2X direct communications a preferred solution for C-ITS applications.

Six demonstrations were shown including: Emergency Electronic Brake Light, Intersection Collision Warning, Across Traffic Turn Collision Risk Warning, Slow Vehicle Warning and Stationary Vehicle Warning, Signal Phase and Timing / Signal Violation Warning and Vulnerable Road User (pedestrian) Warning. The vehicles involved included two-wheel e-scooters provided by BMW Group, and automotive passenger vehicles provided by Ford, Groupe PSA, and BMW Group, all of which were equipped with C-V2X direct communication technology using the Qualcomm® 9150 C-V2X chipset solution.  V2X software stack and application software, along with roadside infrastructure, were provided by industry leader, Savari.

C-V2X is globally supported by a broad automotive ecosystem, which includes the fast growing 5GAA organization.  The 5GAA involves over 85 global members comprised of many leading automakers, Tier-1 suppliers, software developers, mobile operators, semiconductor companies, test equipment vendors, telecom suppliers, traffic signal suppliers and road operators.  

Cellular modems will be key to the C-V2X deployment in vehicles to support telematics, eCall, connected infotainment and delivering useful driving/traffic/parking information. As C-V2X direct communication functionality is integrated into the cellular modem, C-V2X solutions are expected to be more cost-efficient and economical over competing technologies, and benefit from accelerated attach rates.  C-V2X direct communication field validations are currently underway in Germany, France, Korea, China, Japan and the U.S.

C-V2X currently stands as the only V2X technology based on globally recognized 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specifications, with ongoing evolution designed to offer forward compatibility with 5G.  C-V2X also leverages and reuses the upper layer protocols defined by the automotive industry, including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) organization. C-V2X includes two complementary transmission modes: 

  • Direct communication as shown in this demonstration for V2V and V2I use cases
  • V2N network communication, which leverages mobile operators for connectivity and delivers cloud-based services, including automated crash notification (ACN, as mandated by eCall), hazard warnings, weather conditions, green light optimal speed advisory (GLOSA), parking spot location, and remote tele-operation to support automated driving, to name a few.

“This demonstration builds on the successful C-V2X showcase we organised with our members Audi, Ford and Qualcomm in Washington DC in April, said Christoph Voigt, Chairman of 5GAA.

“We are excited to witness the growing momentum behind this life-saving technology and to see our members working together to deploy C-V2X, and to make it hit the road as soon as possible.”  

“The BMW Group introduced the first C-ITS use cases already in 2013 with the market introduction of the BMW i3. Today most of envisaged C-ITS use-cases are already institutionalized. With the implementation of C-V2X, the BMW Group accomplishes the last set of the puzzle with a practical path to C-ITS showing quick benefits,” said Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Electronics, BMW Group. 

“With its ability to safely and securely connect vehicles, along with its evolution into 5G, C-V2X is integral to Ford’s vision for future transportation in which all cars and infrastructure talk to each other,” said Thomas Lukaszewicz, Manager Automated Driving, Ford of Europe. “We are very encouraged by preliminary test results in Europe and elsewhere which support our belief that C-V2X direct communications has superior V2X communication capabilities.”

“We’re moving forward with seamless communication between cars and their environment for enhancing road safety, as well as our customers’ safety,” said Carla Gohin, Group PSA’s Vice President for Research and Advanced Engineering. “Following the first European C-V2X direct communications demonstration we hosted with Qualcomm Technologies last March, we’re pleased to work with leading automotive and technology companies today to highlight that C-V2X interoperability is a reality.” 

“This demonstration of interoperability between multiple automakers is not only another milestone achieved towards C-V2X deployment, but also further validates the commercial viability and global compatibility of C-V2X direct communications for connected vehicles,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president & president, Qualcomm Europe and MEA. “We look forward in continuing to work alongside leaders in the automotive industry, like the 5GAA, BMW Group, Ford, Groupe PSA and Savari, to help advance the automotive industry’s shift towards a safer, connected and more autonomous future.” 

“As one of the V2X pioneers, our company is extremely pleased to continue to help enable the next step in the V2X revolution that we helped start back in 2008,” said Ravi Puvvala, CEO of Savari. “For the last year and a half, the Savari team has worked diligently alongside the dedicated C-V2X engineers in the 5GAA partnership. The resulting string of increasingly impressive demonstrations is continuing to convince the world that C-V2X will soon be deployed around the world.”

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Fleet management in 360

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An on-board dual camera system from global fleet management vehicle recovery and insurance telematics provider, Cartrack, reduces the costs of managing vehicle fleets, while creating new ways to motivate drivers and improve their on-the-road performance.

Historically, commercial drivers within fleets have been far removed from active management and oversight, with limited tools available in helping fleet owners understand how their drivers actually behave on the road. This lack of visual tracking ability has seen fleet managers struggle to achieve meaningful driver skills development, while also leaving companies vulnerable to poor operational performance and financial losses resulting from accidents.

Cartrack’s Drive Vision system is dramatically changing this status quo.

Drive Vision is an on-board dual camera system that records video footage with a 120-degree exterior view of the road ahead, and a 160-degree view inside the vehicle cab. Not only can fleet managers actively monitor all the footage that they wish, the system also records specific events such as speeding, harsh braking or an unforeseen action from a third-party.

Drive Vision’s video is continuously captured and then made available to users in two ways. The footage is either buffered in the unit’s memory card for up to five days, and selected time slots can be downloaded by the user via a web interface. Alternatively, footage is also automatically downloaded to the system when specific events occur, such as speeding or a collision.  The captured footage is stored at a web address and is immediately accessible to the client at any time. In addition, the data centre’s driver exception reporting mechanism can review the footage against a client’s pre-determined driver behaviour stipulations, creating a balanced and flexible driver performance assessment tool.

Cartrack CEO, Andre Ittmann, notes why Drive Vision is so useful for companies.

“There are two key strategic benefits to the technology.  Firstly, the company has a clear visual record of events in the case of an accident or legal dispute. Achieving this kind of detailed view hasn’t been possible before, and it can dramatically reduce the costs around incidents and accidents, on an ongoing basis. Secondly, Drive Vision is a highly functional, event-based coaching system. It therefore allows fleet managers to develop a culture that rewards excellent or improved performance, while also giving them the power to actively close skills gaps. “

Ittmann also notes that fleet video footage allows the company to monitor and manage aspects of its service and market performance, including the driver’s ability to access a work site, thereby ensuring timeous arrivals at designated locations and the ability to oversee passenger count and conduct.

Ittmann concludes that Drive Vision offers untold long-term advantages for companies.

“Beyond simply gaining a more efficient means to discipline errant drivers, Drive Vision also empowers fleet managers to proactively implement measures that will result in long-term benefits for their company. Ultimately, the company can also reduce costs related to driver mismanagement while simultaneously improving a driver’s skills and their performance on the road.”

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