BlackBerry approved for autonomous vehicle testing in Canada
BlackBerry was one of three groups approved by Ontario, Canada, to participate in an autonomous vehicle testing program. The pilot licensing program is set to allow autonomous vehicle testing with a safety driver behind the wheel.
BlackBerry QNX said it will participate alongside the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research and Erwin Hymer Group.
The initiative kicked off earlier this year, with Ontario hoping to join markets around the world as the place automakers and enthusiasts come to test and observe self-driving technology. According to the province, self-driving vehicles have the potential to deliver “environmental, economic, social and safety” benefits, including decreased emissions tied to enhanced mobility; reduced traffic congestion and improved flow of goods and services; minimized driver error, distraction and increased road safety; expanded employment through a made-in-Ontario AV supply chain; and foster potential in the academic and research and development sector.
The province provided CA$2.95 million ($2.2 million) in funding to support industry and academia through the Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle Program. Ontario is the only subnational jurisdiction to have five major global automotive assemblers in Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota, as well as truck manufacturer Hino.
Ontario’s automated vehicle pilot has a set of rules and guidelines entrants must comply to, including being restricted to testing purposes only; being set to run for 10 years and include interim evaluations; only vehicles manufactured and equipped by approved applicants are permitted; the driver must remain in the driver’s seat of the vehicle at all times and monitor the vehicle’s operation; the driver must hold a full class license for the type of vehicle being operated; eligible participants must have insurance of at least CA$5 million; all Highway Traffic Act rules of the road and penalties will apply to the driver/vehicle owner; and Vehicles must comply with SAE Standard J3016 and any requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act that apply to automated driving systems for the vehicle’s year of manufacture.
At CES 2016, BlackBerry showed off its plans for entering the self-driving vehicle industry, demoing cars that could scan for obstacles, keep within highway lanes and communicate with other vehicles. It plans to use its QNX software, which is already being used by automakers like Ford for in-car entertainment systems.