Volkswagen's Software Company CARIAD to Use BlackBerry QNX to Support ADAS and Autonomous Driving Functions of Future VW Vehicles

Volkswagen's Software Company CARIAD to Use BlackBerry QNX to Support ADAS and Autonomous Driving Functions of Future VW Vehicles

Author: Eric Walz   

Like many automakers following in Tesla's lead, Volkswagen AG is transitioning to building software defined vehicles that are capable of receiving regular over-the-air software updates for the life of the vehicle.

Volkswagen even established its own software company CARIAD to build a vehicle operating system (OS) named "VW.OS" that will power the automaker's future models. VW.OS is further supported by the Volkswagen Cloud ("VW.AC") and a scalable, unified end-to-end electronic architecture.  

This week, CARIAD announced that it selected BlackBerry QNX technology for the new VW.OS. The Blackberry QNX-powered software platform will be available for Volkswagen Group vehicles from the middle of the decade. 

As part of the agreement, BlackBerry will license its QNX technology to CARIAD, including its QNX OS for Safety, which is a pre-certified microkernel operating system designed for safety-critical embedded systems, as well as the toolchains for engineers building these systems. 

The toolchains are qualified to ISO 26262, which is an international standard for the functional safety of electrical and electronic systems installed in vehicles. As part of the VW.OS software stack, Blackberry's QNX OS for Safety will serve as a reliable and secure foundation. 

Blackberry's QNX OS for Safety is a real-time OS designed for use in systems where reliable, functionally safe embedded vehicle software is critical. It includes the safety certificates and documentation so CARAID engineers can correctly develop and certify safety-critical software systems for future Volkswagen vehicles. 

QNX OS for Safety will be integrated in CARIAD's software platform specifically for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving functions. It will help CARIAD accelerate its software development timelines.

Also as part of the agreement, BlackBerry will also provide Volkwagen's software teams with professional engineering and consulting services for system-level integration, performance optimization, and solution validation.

"From chip to cloud, BlackBerry QNX is trusted by the world's leading automotive companies for our leading-edge embedded software solutions that deliver safety, reliability and security," said John Wall, SVP and Head, BlackBerry Technology Solutions. "With the industry coalescing around the pursuit of the software-defined vehicle, we look forward to working closely with CARIAD to help enable the cutting-edge cars of the future."

Blackberry's QNX for Safety is based on the company's advanced and secure QNX Neutrino real-time operating system (RTOS). At the core of the OS, the QNX Neutrino RTOS microkernel isolates every application driver, network stack and filesystem in its own address space outside the kernel. This design ensures that any single failure won't affect other components or the kernel. For a safety-critical vehicle OS, its offers the highest level of reliability. 

The new collaboration with Blackberry is one of several major announcements from Volkswagen's CARAID software company this year. 

In January, Automotive supplier Bosch and CARIAD agreed to form an extensive partnership to jointly develop a state-of-the-art, standardized software platform for future Volkswagen vehicles. The goal of the partnership is to make SAE Level-2 and 3 autonomous driving capabilities for Volkswagen vehicles suitable for volume production. 

In March, Volkswagen announced the addition of anonymous "swarm data" from other Volkswagen Group vehicles to help its advanced driver assist systems make better decisions over time, such as performing automatic lane changes. The addition of swarm data marks the next step towards vehicle systems that support fully-automated driving, according to Volkswagen. 

In May, CARAID announced that it has selected Qualcomm Technologies to supply system-on-chips (SoCs) for its vehicle software platform designed to deliver up to SAE level-4 autonomous driving capabilities in future Volkswagen vehicles.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon Ride is one of the industry's most advanced, scalable and fully customizable ADAS platforms available to automakers for adding advanced safety features and autonomous driving capabilities to their vehicles.

In addition to its work on automated driving and vehicle safety systems, CARIAD is working on a standardized vehicle infotainment platform for Volkswagen, as well as software functions for linking powertrains, and chassis and charging technology of EVs.

Volkswagen plans to have an entire lineup of software-defined vehicles in the future that will receive regular over-the-air (OTA) software updates, starting with its ID family of electric vehicles, which includes the ID 4 SUV.

The latest generation of software for VW's ID family of vehicles is "Software 3.0". It adds many new features to enhance the user experience, such as optimizing EV charging capacity.

Volkswagen intends to reduce costs by using a single, cloud-connected universal software platform for future models. The software stack will serve as a unified operating system for all future VW vehicles.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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