The former BlackBerry phone maker’s cultivating a thriving conversion to software.

Dan Carney, Senior Editor

January 19, 2023

2 Min Read
Dongfeng Voyah Ivy Dashboard.png
The Dongfeng Voyah's cockpit is built on Blackberry's Ivy software platform.Image courtesy of Dongfeng

While BlackBerry is best known for its once-ubiquitous smartphones, the company’s pivot to software marked another milestone with the announcement that its Ivy platform has gained customers among automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers.

BlackBerry says Ivy is “a scalable, cloud-connected software platform.” The company co-developed Ivy with cloud experts Amazon Web Services. Carmakers can use BlackBerry Ivy to help create in-vehicle services for drivers.

Chinese OEM Dongfeng has announced that it will incorporate Ivy into its new Voyah electric crossover SUV. The company says that Ivy’s ability to poll a vehicle’s various systems to create “synthetic sensors” will let it monitor the car’s battery health. Doing so promises to improve the Voyah’s driving range and its battery durability over time. This system is provided by Boston’s Electra Vehicles, which describes itself as a leader in AI-based onboard controls, data analytics, and design.

Additionally, Chinese in-vehicle electronics supplier Pateo is providing a digital cockpit for Voyah that also employs BlackBerry’s Ivy software platform.

Bosch has also announced a digital cockpit product using Ivy, though the vehicles where it will appear have not yet been revealed. At the CES show in Las Vegas, BlackBerry showed a Jeep Grand Cherokee using an Ivy system to provide information from the synthetic sensor network to provide predictive information on tire and brake wear. Because this synthetic sensor net generates a fingerprint of its car that is unique, the system can also be used for authentication of vehicle payment transactions such as buying gas or electricity.

Related:BlackBerry Ivy Middleware Promises to Ease Automotive App Development

The wide variety of potential applications for the data from the car creates impressive potential for future applications that run on Ivy, explained BlackBerry senior vice president for Ivy, Sarah  Tatsis. “The ecosystem is important for Ivy,” she said.

The product was announced in 2020, and BlackBerry’s team toiled through the pandemic shutdown undeterred. “There was a lot of great communication and collaboration,” Tatsis recalled. “Ivy was created virtually at home.”

Nevertheless, it is out in the world now, as wins with Pateo, Dongfeng, and Bosch demonstrate. The Dongfeng Voyah is scheduled for production in 2024, bringing the benefits of BlackBerry’s new software to customers.

 

About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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