TORONTO – As the auto sector hurtles toward connected and autonomous vehicles, industry-wide cybersecurity standards are lagging, a senior BlackBerry QNX executive says.
“It’s something we’ve spoken to the [federal] government about as well,” said Grant Courville, vice-president, product development and strategy at BlackBerry QNX, a business unit of the Waterloo-Ont.-based BlackBerry Ltd. “It’s an opportunity that we can collaborate with other countries and to essentially drive forward a standard in automotive, specifically for security and that would be great to see.”
The industry is undergoing unprecedented technological change that is loading vehicles with electronics horsepower and complex software that has to be “safe, secure reliable and trusted,” said Courville, who spoke Tuesday on a panel at the Discovery 2019 conference in Toronto.
“You’re going to see this be very evolutionary, but there’s a lot of things going on in the car [and] there’s tremendous opportunities for educational institutions, governments and companies to participate,” said Courville.
Level 5 autonomous cars, which don’t require a human driver, are still a couple of decades away before they will be sold at dealerships, said Courville.
“It’s not happening tomorrow, [but] it’s the exact right way to do it,” he said. “It’s got to be safe, it’s got to be evolutionary. We can’t lose that consumer trust.”
BlackBerry’s software platform is found in more than 120 million vehicles by 45 automakers, but it is focusing on developing safety and cybersecurity systems that are crucial for self-driving cars, said Courville.