The Canada-based BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has revealed they will be spending 100 million Canadian dollars or $75 million US over the next few years on a self-driving car hub in the country.
That is a huge change for the company, known to be one of the finest smartphone makers only a few years back. However, for some time now, the sales of their phones have been dropping. Finally, in September, the company announced they won’t be designing their phones anymore. Self-driving cars give the business new direction.
These vehicles, along with battery-operated cars are the future according to many experts. Many businesses such as Apple, Tesla, Uber, Google, and others are putting in millions into this, and have made significant progress already. So BlackBerry has some catching up to do, and will probably face stiff competition from these businesses.
The New Facility of BlackBerry
The company disclosed that this new facility will come up at Ottawa in Ontario. It will employ more than 650 engineers, with each person making 150,000 Canadian dollars every year. Speaking to the reporters John Chen, the CEO said, “Most of all the money will go to jobs”. Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau was by his side when John made the announcement.
He also said that the focus will be on using BlackBerry’s cyber security expertise on self-driving automobiles. BlackBerry QNX, their QNX unit employs about 400 engineers at this time. The QNX subsidiary is headquartered in Ottawa.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was happy with the new hub. He said, “This center will create great middle-class jobs for Canadians, new opportunities for recent university graduates and further position Canada as a global hub for innovation”.
BlackBerry Software Used in the Automotive Industry Already
Though best known for their keyboards and mobile phones, but the company is not exactly new to automobiles. Their software has been used in the automotive industry for about a decade now. What’s new is that they will for the first time have a concept vehicle, which is expected to come out in a few years.
This vehicle will be brought out with the semiconductor company Renesas Electronics, middleware supplier PolySync, and the University of Waterloo. In the future, though, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) wants to invite others to its new facility.
The BlackBerry stock has lost more than 20 percent in 2016.