On the road to becoming a bonafide technology superpower (or at least close to what the company once was), Canadian software company BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NYSE:BB) appears to be pulling out all the stops in its bid to dominate the global market for autonomous vehicles.
This past week, the Canadian company announced a partnership with Jaguar Land Rover to licence the company’s QNX software for the in-car systems produced by Tata Motors Ltd. This multi-year deal is expected to keep BlackBerry busy, with the company working to develop next-generation software and electronic control units for Jaguar Land Rover vehicles, with the first project set to be an infotainment system BlackBerry will devote resources to.
BlackBerry’s QNX software has become sought after by a number of vehicle makers due primarily to the relative safety of the QNX platform compared to its competitors. The company’s CEO John Chen, who recently signed a large extension contract with BlackBerry, has done an excellent job of repositioning BlackBerry as a software leader in this space, highlighting the importance of software security at this point in time.
Taking advantage of recent hacks related to personal information (remember Equifax?) and privacy issues pertaining to how information on certain platforms are shared (i.e., Facebook Inc.), privacy and security are two concerns that are likely to drive car makers toward BlackBerry’s QNX platform in the medium to long term. An estimated 60 million cars currently sport QNX software, primarily for infotainment systems; however, BlackBerry is working feverishly to enhance this software to support autonomous vehicle systems in a bid to take the company to the next level.
In a recent article on Toronto-Dominion Bank’s (TSX:TD)(NYSE:TD) move into artificial intelligence (AI), I discussed the value such a deal created for the Big Five Canadian bank, given the long-term opportunities bringing AI talent on board can provide for financial institutions. I expect to see BlackBerry dive further into the AI space in the near to medium term, given the reality that machine learning and AI are becoming increasingly important for the underlying software autonomous vehicles are expected to utilize in the years to come.
The global automobile market is continuing to rely more heavily on software, and car makers are consistently being pushed to provide new features, which will drive consumers toward their vehicles and away from competitors. With digital features likely to provide increased value for consumers moving forward, I expect privacy and security to remain two top priorities for this sector for the long term.
BlackBerry’s potential to increase its market share based on its current platform as well as its potential to continue to develop its software in conjunction with an AI revolution are two key long-term investment theses to stay invested in this growth gem moving forward.
Stay Foolish, my friends.
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Fool contributor Chris MacDonald has no position in any stocks mentioned in this article. David Gardner owns shares of Facebook. Tom Gardner owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of BlackBerry and Facebook. BlackBerry is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.