The federal government is giving BlackBerry $40 million to create technologies that make automobiles safer, more connected, and eventually autonomous. BlackBerry is contributing $300 million to the project, which is expected to expand the number of jobs at its campus in Ottawa by 800 over the next 10 years, reports Global News.
Initially recognized as a leader in smartphones, BlackBerry is now focusing on advanced software for self-driving vehicles. The federal money will be earmarked towards software development on autonomous vehicles and worker training.
The company’s QNX software is currently integrated into tens of millions of vehicles and is used for systems such as driving assistance, hands-free features, and entertainment consoles.
BlackBerry will focus on developing new automated control systems, upgrading and securing vehicle communications, and improving safety and security through its driver-assistance system, according to Global News.
While autonomous cars won’t be commonplace for several years, these steps will advance the technology necessary to create a self-driving society.
The government is giving BlackBerry the money as part of its Strategic Innovation Fund, which is geared towards stimulating the development of innovative enterprises.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that the action proves the government is supporting Canadian technology companies that are taking charge in a new economy. Trudeau added that Canada will back companies of all sizes that take chances in an ever-changing global economy.
In other BlackBerry news, the company recently appointed Bryan Palma as President and Chief Operating Officer. He will oversee the BlackBerry Technology Solutions, Enterprise Software and Services, and Mobility Solutions teams. He previously worked with Boeing, Hewlett Packard, PepsiCo and the United States Secret Service. Most recently, he was Cisco’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of customer experience for the Americas.
“As the world becomes exponentially more connected, enterprises and governments around the world need a trusted provider of security and data privacy, and I am confident that provider is BlackBerry,” Palma said in a statement.