Blackberry to Provide Operating System for Canoo EV

Who knew Blackberry was still around? Today’s news of the company in the automotive space may cause some to do a doubletake. Blackberry just announced it will provide the QNX technology and operating system for Canoo, an electric vehicle tied to a subscription service set to debut in 2021.

A white Canoo electric van sits in a white background.
Canoo electric van for membership-based rental subscription service | Canoo

Blackberry invading every element of the transportation industry

Blackberry, the formerly dominant smartphone maker, has transitioned into the automotive space. According to our friends at TechRepublic, as part of a push to invade every element of the transportation industry, the company has recently created partnerships with Ford, Damon Motorcycles, Renovo Motors, and others. The push includes motorcycles, advanced driver assistance systems, smart city infrastructure and cybersecurity.

Blackberry has not just transitioned into the automotive sector, it has quickly taken a large hold of it. As the industry moves to offer increasing levels of driver assistance systems, Blackberry plans on being the go-to provider. Indeed, the company already has a large influence.

“BlackBerry estimates that QNX solutions are embedded in more than 150 million cars on the road. In 2017, there were about 300 million registered vehicles on the road in the U.S. and Canada.” – TechRepublic

“BlackBerry will be providing its QNX embedded system platform to Canoo to serve as the operating system for its fleet of semi-autonomous electric vehicles, which are due out in 2021.” – TechRepublic

The rear of the Canoo electric van shows a couch-like seating area.
Canoo electric van for membership-based subscription service | Canoo

The Canoo electric vehicle rental subscription service

Canoo is a California based electric vehicle startup that aims to provide a membership-based rental program for its fleet of vehicles. Driver assistive technology is key in the development of the Canoo electric vehicle. Canoo’s vehicles have 12 ultrasonic sensors, five radars, and seven cameras. Those components will all be configured to use Blackberry’s QNX operating system to determine if warning a driver or taking limited control of the vehicle is necessary in potentially hazardous situations. Level 2 driver assistance programming will allow Canoo’s vehicles to manage acceleration, braking, steering, and monitoring of the immediate environment.

The seven-seat Canoo is a rear-wheel drive city vehicle powered by a single 300 horsepower electric motor. The range for the Canoo is expected to be approximately 250 miles. An 80 percent recharge will happen in a half-hour. 

Canoo will not be sold at traditional dealers

Much like Tesla, Canoo plans on providing vehicles without the traditional franchise dealer model. Orders will be direct with the company. Also, servicing them will be handled through established rental car companies or dealers service groups that handle fleet service management. The customer will not need to worry about anything. For a monthly fee, the vehicle, registration, charging, maintenance, and even access to insurance will all be handled by Canoo

A white and a black Canoo electric vans sit in a driveway.
Canoo electric van for membership-based subscription service | Canoo

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As for Blackberry, its QNX operating system is widely used outside of the automotive world as well. Safety-critical systems for medical devices, rail, robotics, industrial controls, and aerospace & defense have all seen applications of the technology. The new relationship with Canoo serves to expand its footprint just a little bit more.