CES 2020

BlackBerry, Amazon team up to create connected, intelligent, and secure vehicles

Audi is one of the companies that features BlackBerry software.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Most of us have seen the stories about hackers getting into a vehicle and taking over its controls. Some might even call them horror stories. As vehicles become more connected to the internet, their vulnerability increases and so does that of the vehicles' occupants.

BlackBerry is teaming up with internet giant Amazon and its Amazon Web Services business to create a a customizable solution that original equipment manufacturers can use to "future-proof" their vehicles and fleets. BlackBerry says that companies across the transportation spectrum will be able to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) "software-driven use cases with a view to enhancing the overall safety and security of their vehicles."

Karma Automotive Screen Amazon BlackBerry Karma will be the first automaker to use the technology in a vehicle.Photo courtesy of Karma Automotive

This new offering is the first time BlackBerry Cylance's AI and ML technologies have been integrated with BlackBerry QNX solutions, which currently are embedded in more than 150 million cars on the road today. That is an increase of 30 million cars over 2018.

"The world's leading automakers, tier ones, and chip manufacturers continue to seek out BlackBerry's safety-certified and highly-secure software for their next-generation vehicles," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. "Together with our customers we will help to ensure that the future of mobility is safe, secure and built on trust."

Automotive brands including Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, KIA, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen use BlackBerry QNX technology in their driver assistance and safety technology, connectivity modules, hands-free systems, and infotainment systems.

BlackBerry QNX solutions also play critical roles in the medical and industrial automation industries.

In vehicles, the BlackBerry QNX solutions portfolio will identify vulnerabilities in software used in automobiles; allow preventative software maintenance over the lifetime of a car; deploy malware-free applications to managed vehicles; provide insights into cybersecurity and operational events on vehicle(s) and complete remediation; ensure the identity of the vehicle's driver is known and trusted in relation to their driving profile; proactively scan the vehicle for signs of trouble or software anomalies before they lead to maintenance issues, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, or accidents; predict, prevent, detect, and remediate advanced malicious threats and malware in the vehicle infotainment system; and provide a secure and reliable foundation for safety-critical applications.

"This solution represents a major milestone in the company's continued efforts to integrate BlackBerry Cylance's innovative prevention-first, predictive security products with our vast range of industry-leading technologies," said Charles Eagan, Chief Technology Officer, BlackBerry. "With the average new car containing more than 100 million lines of code and some of the most complex software ever deployed by automakers, the need for a holistic view into the overall health and security posture of a vehicle's entire code base throughout its full lifecycle is absolutely critical. No one knows security better than us and we now have a transportation-focused framework that the industry can tap to enhance the security, trustworthiness, and safety of connected vehicles, providing peace of mind to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike."

At CES, the partnership of BlackBerry and Amazon Web Services allowed the tasks done by BlackBerry QNX to be made by combining the "safety and security of BlackBerry's QNX real-time operating system with AWS' Internet of Things (IoT) Services in the cloud and in the car," according to a release. This also allowed BlackBerry to combine all of its offerings into one cloud-based solution.

Automaker Karma (not Fisker, Karma as in Fisker Karma but now Karma Automotive; yes, it's confusing) will be one of the first manufacturers to take advantage of this technology.

"Combining the safety and security of QNX with AWS cloud and edge intelligence has the potential to speed the development of Karma's connected car ecosystem," said Lewis Liu, Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, Karma Automotive. "It shows how Karma's vehicle platform is being used by technologists as a test-bed to prove new innovation, speed product development and ultimately to provide owners with leading cyber-security resources and predictive maintenance information via the latest artificial intelligence applications. The result is enhanced VVIP treatment for our discerning luxury-customer base, and cutting-edge technology that can lead to new business opportunities for Karma beyond pure automotive retail sales."

While many of the ideas and concepts presented at CES seem far off, this one hits a little closer to home with a real possibility for innovation in the modern automotive market.

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Electric vehicles owners in Virginia and Florida will be able to partake in a new, simplified charging scheme.

Photo by Jae Young Ju/Getty Images

Florida and Virginia have joined a growing list of states allowing Electrify America customers to pay by the amount of energy they use to charge their vehicles, similar to the way that Citgo customers pay for gasoline by the gallon. Those two states have been added to Electrify America's new kilowatt-hour (kWh) pricing plan.

The updated pricing structure was established in September 2020 and allows for more transparency with Electrify America customers. It is now available in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Electrify America charging station Electrify America is in the process of adding charging stations across the U.S. Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto

"Electrify America has listened to feedback from electric vehicle owners, potential customers, and longtime industry advocates. As a result we have developed a new pricing structure that is fair, consistent, and recognizes the increasing customer demand for kilowatt-hour pricing," said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America. "With the new pricing, we deliver a simplified charging experience that shows new and existing customers how easy it is to own an EV."

Florida and Virginia are growing in terms of the electric vehicle charging stations. EV drivers have access to 20 Electrify America charging stations with 96 individual fast chargers in Virginia, and 24 charging stations with 110 individual fast chargers in Florida.

Rates for charging start at $0.31 per kilowatt-hour. Complete pricing information is available at ElectrifyAmerica.com/pricing and on the Electrify America mobile app, which makes charging with the network even easier.

In states where the company operates that aren't in on kWh pricing, Electrify America will continue to offer pricing on a per-minute basis with customers billed for the time spent charging. There are two power levels starting at as low as $0.12 per minute.

Electrify America is committed to expanding its public network of ultra-fast EV chargers. They are planning to either have installed or be in the process of installing 800 total charging stations with approximately 3,500 chargers by December 2021.

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The 2021 Infiniti QX50 has received a few upgrades for the new model year.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Already in its third model year since its generational redesign, the 2021 Infiniti QX50 gets a number of upgrades including a roster of added standard equipment.

Infiniti will sell the model in five trim levels: Pure, Luxe, Essential, Sensory, and Autograph It has a starting MSRP of $37,750, a $500 price increase over the previous year’s model.

For that price, buyers will now be getting rear seat-mounted side-impact supplemental airbags, automatic collision notification with emergency call, acoustic laminated front side glass, and a Wi-Fi hot spot as standard equipment. The two-row SUV will also be available with a new Mineral Black paint job.

2021 Infiniti QX50 The QX50 remains much the same on the exterior.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The 2021 QX50 Luxe is now available with an Appearance Package that includes elements from the Edition 30 including 20-inch black-painted wheels, black mirror caps, dark chrome accents, black grille mesh, and graphite headliner.

Additionally, the QX50 Essential gets traffic sign recognition technology while the QX50 Sensory now has direct adaptive steering as standard. The QX50 Autograph gets a standard tow package.

Previously, Infiniti charged extra for the Climate Package on the QX50 Sensory. For 2021, that equipment is added as complementary.

The SUV continues to be powered by the company’s 2.0-liter VC-Turbo power plant that delivers 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive models achieve 25 mpg combined while all-wheel drive QX50s get 25 mpg combined.

Front-wheel drive is standard on the QX50 and all-wheel drive is available. Drivers can choose to operate their model in either Standard, Eco, Sport, or Personal drive model. Steering can be tailored Using Default, Dynamic, or Dynamic+ modes.

2021 Infiniti QX50 The car’s cabin features plush accomodations that befit its price tag.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti will also continue to offer all models, except the base Pure grade, with standard ProPilot Assist safety and driver assistance technology. That includes direct adaptive steering and adaptive cruise control technologies.

Active noise cancellation and active sound enhancement technology give the QX50 one of the quietest cabins in its class.

The 2021 Infiniti QX50 is on sale now.

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