June 5, 2017 / 8:43 PM / 9 months ago

BlackBerry downplays Toyota's move to rival software maker

TORONTO, June 5 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd on Monday downplayed news that Toyota Motor Corp would stop using its QNX software to run vehicle consoles, saying it is more focused on the faster-growing market for autonomous driving technology.

QNX is a leading supplier of software for consoles that deliver video, mapping, hands-free calling and internet services to vehicles. Its software has been used in Toyota consoles for four years.

Automotive Grade Linux, a collaborative of some 100 technology companies and automakers, said on Wednesday that Toyota would start using its open-source software in Entune 3.0 consoles of its 2018 Camry sedans, and then deploy it in most Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in North America.

Toyota is one of the first major automakers to adopt Automotive Grade Linux, a project known as AGL started five years ago to develop standardized open-source software for the auto industry.

Its more than 100 members include Toyota, as well as Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, Mazda Motor Corp , Mercedes-Benz, Nissan Motor Co, Suzuki Motor Corp and Subaru. Chipmakers and other auto suppliers are also members.

AGL said that Toyota had actively contributed to developing its software platform and would share additional code as it rolls out its new infotainment system.

BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard said in a blog post on Monday that he expected AGL to take market share in the automotive infotainment market, along with regular Linux and Android.

“But none of these challenger platforms is close to displacing BlackBerry QNX in safety-critical modules, areas that are growing faster than infotainment in the modern software-defined car,” Beard said.

BlackBerry’s QNX division said in October that it was working with Ford Motor Co as it develops increasingly automated vehicles, and executives have said they are in advanced discussions with several other major global automakers about similar partnerships.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jim Finkle and Dan Grebler

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