LAS VEGAS — BlackBerry CEO John Chen spoke on the race for fully autonomous vehicle technology, privacy and security and BlackBerry competitors during a briefing with reporters Wednesday morning at CES.
"I don't think I'm going to buy a Level 5 car for at least 10 years," Chen said.
But Chen said that while fully autonomous passenger vehicles are at least 10 to 15 years out, he expects to see autonomous commercial vehicles and taxis soon.
The company has a major stake in facilitating autonomous vehicle technology through its software solutions and made six major auto-related announcements at CES, including a partnership with Renovo for a data management platform with QNX, BlackBerry's automotive operating system, and a partnership with Amazon Web Services.
Chen said several factors contribute to the far-out timeline for fully autonomous passenger vehicles, including costs of lidar and radar sensors in the vehicles; the demand for hybrid systems; state and government policy inconsistencies; and liabilities that come with these new technologies.
"The definition of safety is not nailed down," Chen said.
"We believe a car is a collection of endpoints. The collection of endpoints need to communicate with each other," he added.
"Level 3 will be mainstream for a long time," Chen said, speaking about the levels of autonomy. "The design wins in Level 4 and Level 5, but the revenue is still in Level 3."
Chen also spoke about the company's automotive market share and potential competitors, such as software provider Green Hills Software and Google. Chen estimated BlackBerry holds more than 50 per cent of the market, with 150 million vehicles on the road using QNX.
Mobileye, technology giant Intel's mobility subsidiary, also claims its own stake in future mobility technologies through self-driving vehicle mapping, sensing and data.
But Chen added, "Mobileye is not my competition."
On 5G, another big topic at CES, Chen said from a business perspective, BlackBerry supports the development of 5G.
"5G, because of the bandwidth, because of the coverage, enables more of our applications," he said. "From a business side, it's a positive."
"We want to make sure there aren't two standards out there," Chen added. "My only ax to grind, so to speak, in this is to get to one standard quickly and make it more ubiquitous."