Can BlackBerry and Baidu's Autonomous Vehicles Collaboration Win?

BlackBerry Ltd. (NYSE: BB) shares made a solid gain to kick off Wednesday after the firm announced that it would be collaborating with Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) to accelerate the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicle technology for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers worldwide. Each of these companies is bringing something big to the table for this collaboration.

Baidu is bringing its Apollo platform, which has now attracted over 70 global partners, including OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, developer platforms and technology startups. Not to mention this platform boasts comprehensive, secure and reliable solutions that consist of cloud services, an open software stack and reference hardware and vehicle platforms.

BlackBerry is bringing its QNX platform, a state-of-the-art cybersecurity technology that protects and mitigates hardware, software, applications and end-to-end systems from cyberattacks.

This collaboration came to a head when the companies signed a statement of intent to make BlackBerry QNX’s industry-leading ISO26262 ASIL-D certified safety operating system (OS) the foundation for Baidu’s Apollo autonomous driving open platform.

Separately, BlackBerry and Baidu will work together to integrate Baidu’s CarLife, a leading smartphone integration software for connected cars in China, as well as its conversational AI system DuerOS, and high-definition maps to run on the BlackBerry QNX Car (Infotainment) Platform.

John Wall, senior vice president and general manager of BlackBerry QNX, commented:

Joining forces with Baidu will enable us to explore integration opportunities for multiple vehicle subsystems including ADAS, infotainment, gateways, and cloud services. Baidu has made tremendous strides in Artificial Intelligence and deep learning. These advancements paired with their high-definition maps and BlackBerry’s safety-critical embedded software and expertise in security will be crucial ingredients for autonomous vehicles.

Li Zhenyu, general manager of Intelligent Driving Group, Baidu, added:

BlackBerry QNX has established itself as the OS platform for safety-certified production-based systems. We aim to provide automakers with a clear and fast path to fully autonomous vehicle production, with safety and security as top priorities. By integrating the BlackBerry QNX OS with the Apollo platform, we will enable carmakers to leap from prototype to production systems. Together, we will work toward a technological and commercial ecosystem for autonomous driving, intelligent connectivity, and intelligent traffic systems.

Shares of BlackBerry were last seen up about 7.8% at $12.94, with a consensus analyst price target of $11.25 and a 52-week range of $6.99 to $13.03.

Baidu was trading at $243.28 a share, with a 52-week range of $166.00 to $274.97 and a consensus price target of $269.01.