Ottawa has announced an investment of $40 million in BlackBerry QNX software for connected autonomous vehicles.
At the same time the Ontario government pledged an identical amount to the province’s automotive sector.
Ottawa’s investment will support BlackBerry as it develops new automated control systems, upgrades and secures communications in vehicles, and improves vehicle safety and security by expanding its advanced driver-assistance system. The company will also develop and use concept cars as labs for technology and software development.
Ottawa says its funding will create “more than 800 new middle class jobs in Canada over the next ten years, and maintain nearly 300 more,” as well as provide new skills development and learning opportunities.
BlackBerry will invest $310.5 million in the project, and commit $5 million to cybersecurity to collaborate with government, post-secondary institutions and private sector firms.
“BlackBerry is trusted by automakers and Tier 1s around the world to protect hardware, software, applications, and end-to-end systems from cyberattacks,” said BlackBerry executive chairman and CEO John Chen. “Thanks to the Canadian government’s commitment we’re now in an even stronger position to deliver on the demand for BlackBerry’s safe and secure QNX software. Together we will spur innovation, create great jobs, educate the workforce of tomorrow, and solidify Canada as a world leader in automotive technology.”
At the same time, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced $40 million in funding over three years to support the province’s auto sector. The money includes funding for innovation and training. The investment is part of a 10-year plan to strengthen the competitiveness of Ontario’s automotive sector in the wake of GM’s announced shutdown of its auto plant in Oshawa, reports CBC News. That closure will eliminate 2600 well paid automotive sector jobs.
The province hopes to support auto workers as they retrain for new jobs in the automotive sector that will be very different from the kinds of work they have done up to this point. Specifically, “micro-credentialling” will focus on targeted retraining for highly specific skills. Ontario is also planning to modernize its apprenticeship training to make it more responsive to the automotive sector’s emerging requirements.
As part of the provincial funding, $10 million will be made available to small and medium automotive suppliers to promote innovation.