In the driver's seat with QNX at CES 2014

By Adam Zeis on 7 Jan 2014 09:09 pm EST

This year at CES the QNX team had no just one, but two new cars to show off. The Porsche and Bentley are back in the garage and replacing them is a Kia Soul and a sweet Mercedes CLA45 AMG. I had the pleasure of strapping into the drivers seat of both cars to check out all of the awesome tech QNX packed in this year.

Inside the Kia was a plethora of QNX Acoustics technology including QNX Acoustics for Active Noise Control and Engine Sound Enhancement (which is awesome). The Active Noise Control is designed to cut down the excess noise when inside a vehicle — the speakers reducing the amount of engine noise heard by driver and passengers. For me, the Engine Sound Enhancement was the highlight though. The tech essentially keeps the intended sound of a vehicle intact no matter what has been done to the engine or other parts to tweak the vehicle. So even electric cars can have the sound of a standard gas engine. Imagine a Prius that sounds like a Dodge Charger. Crazy, right?

The Mercedes had plenty of digital tech floating in the dash and console as well. A giant display pans the center dash and allows for navigation, media control and even runs Android apps. There's natural speech recognition and fullband stereo duplex vehicle-to-vehicle calling. The dash cluster is configurable to fit the driver and also displays things like weather and media. 

So sit back, relax and come along for the ride as we check out what QNX has to show off this year at CES 2014.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

In the driver's seat with QNX at CES 2014


i would love that in my truck!!, toyota better get this as an option in there tacomas by 2017 when i replace my 2012

I love it, but when will it roll out to a vehicle and when can it play with my BB? Isn't that part of the point?

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I'm not going to lie. I have a 600+ RWHP Supercharged 1996 Ford Thunderbird. Sometimes the drone inside the car is pretty bad from the exhaust at certain speeds. It would be pretty cool to get rid of that. But also, at 65-70MPH it's nice to hear that throaty hum from the exhaust as I'm cruising down the interstate. It's relaxing and soothing in a way. So I could see some guys who would miss that if they are a family man now and are driving a minivan haha. it's kinda nerdy but I'd probably use it.

Sounds just terrible. If your car sounds lame, get a better car. If I see a "prius that sounds like a dodge charger", I'm going to cock-slap the hell out of the driver!

Posted via my sexy-ass Z10 running ON A BOAT!!! have to remember that you are listening to a sound over speakers picked up by a cheap microphone from a camera, and then played back again over (I'm assuming) laptop, phone, tablet, or PC speakers...not exactly what the driver is experiencing...

Posted with my awesome Z10...or maybe even my Q10...50/50 chance...

you're forgetting a step, after it is picked up by the cheap camera and microphone, it is then compressed for internet viewing, which further depredates the original sound and then played on a laptop, phone, tablet or pc speakers which is now not only compressed but played on speakers with no low or mid range… Of course it sounds terrible on the computer…

@Ebscer, I agree. I drove a Tesla Model S. No sound at all, just beautiful! Don't need a sound enhancement to drown out the engine noise. Also, better built cars (Not Kia Soul) don't have outside sound either that you need to compete with.

That's not what he meant; for people who like cars, the sound of the engine, drivetrain and exhaust is huge part of the experience; it's what we WANT.

Electric cars like the Tesla Model S, while having great throttle response, is very lacking in the sound department and it's a major reason why many enthusiasts don't care for them.

Lacking in the sound department. LOL. The way of the future is quiet and efficient. The loud muscle car sound is the past. I took a car enthusiast who has many old muscle cars for a ride. He loved it and said he was shocked and impressed by the no noise. Said his cars now seems loud and annoying compared to the Model S

Hey if that's how you feel, that's cool.

But don't try to tell car enthusiasts that aural aspect of a vehicle doesn't matter or is "outdated".

Have you ever been to an air show? So much of that experience of seeing those planes are because of the roar of their engines.
Same idea for cars; go drive a large displacement V8, or a high strung I4, or hear the high pitch scream of a V12, the metallic wail of a roots supercharger or the whoosh of a turbo. Then come back and tell me how a vehicle sounds doesn't play a major part in the character of that car. You wouldn't go watch an IMax movie on mute now, would you?

People who are into quiet and efficient typically isn't into how a vehicle drives. And even if you're right, then what's the point of these synthetic sounds that some manufacturer and companies like QNX are trying to introduce to the cabin? These companies obviously think the consumers care.

I appreciate the aspect of the sound in these old muscle cars (and yes some new super cars). But the future is going to be the quietness of these super cars. Tesla is leading the way for new high performance cars that are dead quiet.

As for your point on why QNX is introducing a synthetic sound on these cars is because the cars are POS's that maybe a little sound might make you feel like your car has a little more value (balls, style, power, etc) to it. LOL.

Its the fact that the audio experience needs to up the volume of the music to help drown out the engine noise is a joke.

Two sides to this conversation for sure. I appreciate the power of and sound of muscle cars. But I love the performance and quietness of new super cars.

Have a good day

Hi Brian,

We definitely stand on 2 opposite end of the spectrum here. I agree that for most people (because for most, a car is an appliance) a quiet and efficient car is what they want, but this doesn't fly for cars targeted at people who want driving excitement and want to be involved.
It doesn't even need to be a super car, the 500 Abarth has one of the best exhaust and engine note for $25,000.

I also don't agree that electric cars are the future, not unless you can recharge a vehicle close to the time of refuelling a gas tank (and no, battery swapping won't work on a mass consumer level).
Synthetic sound isn't just for "POS's", as mentioned, the M5 has it. I'm no fan of new BMWs, but nobody on earth can honestly say the M5 is a POS lol.

"Its the fact that the audio experience needs to up the volume of the music to help drown out the engine noise is a joke."

People who want a performance car look for this. You're likely confusing the drone that many people get once they put a catback onto their vehicles, that's a by-product of some aftermarket exhausts and isn't an engine sound.

I'm a car enthusiast, I have preference for specific cars but I appreciate most different types of engine and drivetrain choices out there. It'll be a sad day when all cars are autonomous and all they do is whirrr when they drive past.

BTW you said you love these new quiet super cars as if there are many on the market now or upcoming. There is actually no such thing as a quiet super car or even a quiet performance car, the Model S surely isn't a super car (the Tesla Roadster is performance-ish). BMW themselves also said they're not marketing the i8 as performance oriented and there will not be a M version.
These are basically it, there is no such thing as a quiet performance car market and there isn't any surge of such products planned.

The Model S drives great (I have driven 2) and have converted many non-believers, but liking a car versus preferring it over others is a different story. I obviously don't have real proof of this, but looking at forums and watching various videos, the market who purchased the Model S isn't the type that traditionally like cars to begin with.
I appreciate it and can see why some loves it, but perhaps you can do the same for ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles instead of saying they're outdated and are dinosaurs. Because if you think electric cars are the future, that future might never actually come.

I really do appreciate your enthusiasm and knowledge.

Only thing I'll stand by is that the future is electric cars (or future advances in technology). ICE cars are going to be dinosaurs. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not in 10 years but in my lifetime yes. Tesla will be providing their consumer car to the market in the next couple years and that will be changing point. The incandescent light bulb is being banned in BC, Canada. Who would have seen this coming? 50 years from now ICE cars could be banned.... imagine that?

Ford had this same issue with the Mustang. Instead of electronic illusions, they modified the exhaust to dump a small amount through sound pipes. It just seems like using the car entertainment system is a cheat for anything except sound damning. They may as well put a melon launcher on the rear, LED lighting under the floor, and include a hat that fits any way except forward.

I'm a car enthusiast (Google me if you want to see just how) and loud does not mean good. Perhaps for the average 16 year old who puts a 12" can on the exhaust of their Civic. But it is the QUALITY of the noise which matters. It takes considerable effort to tune an exhaust and intake to produce a pleasing noise. In fact, it took me nearly 10 years to end up with the perfect exhaust on my RX-7 that was subdued for regular driving yet let the beast free when the pedal went to the floor. One of my other cars, a 2000 Honda Insight, is so silent that silence itself is a major part of the auditory experience. It depends on the vehicle and how it is used.

As a car enthusiast, it's definitely the opposite of what I want. BMW already plays a synthetic engine note in some of their cars (M5, for example) and it's ridiculous.

For people who don't care about cars, it might be somewhat amusing I guess.

Awesome! Future feels very positive for BlackBerry and naturally qnx

C00121953 channel for car freaks!!

I'm with that. They have to make sure their system can handle all (or at least most) smartphones. But this is a demo and they should've shown it with a BlackBerry.

Last year they did a demo with the Z if I remember correctly. Plus, they never once mentioned the name QNX. They referred to it as BlackBerry 10. I'm glad to hear them use the name QNX again, but I would've liked to see them operate a Z30 instead of the Sony.

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If you play an inverse wave of sound over another existing wave of sound you can essentially cancel the sound. If you play the same wave of sound over the same wave of sound you can enhance it...

This allows them to create noise cancellation - cancelling external noises. Sound enhancement adding sounds to improve feel (anyone with subs in their car know how sound changes feel)

Also, if the engine starts rattling the shaking, you can ease the vibrations of the car by playing inverse waves over the speakers resulting in a muzzling of the sound and decreased shaking of the frame of the car.

i'm disappointed they didn't use a blackberry.. if i remember correctly, the previous versions had a blackberry icon on the screen.

Considering everything else in the show, and how Apple and Android want to be in the car as well, I found it interesting how they used a Sony phone to show off Miracast.

Next years Formula 1 cars are using turbocharged engines which will be much quieter than recent V8s. There was some passing thought to putting speakers on them blasting out V8 noise. Not going to happen though.

Posted via CB10

I've been wondering why, if QNX is only sharing connections with high end cars? I drive a Chevy and I know that the car has some QNX built in. If BlackBerry wants to compete in the consumer market, bring it to the people who can afford it.

Posted via CB10

QNX is in a lot more cars then you'd think...... Just not as *shiny* as these CES demos. I think I read 60% of vehicles on the road are running QNX. OnStar is an example, it runs on QNX.

That's cool, but it would be nice to see a technology that is there to be relevant to the ones with a blackberry or QNX blackberry to be able to connect better than other devices. All I'm saying is that blackberry has an edge and if used properly can regain their "Darling " status back and push the other platforms to the wayside

Posted via CB10

Rep: Listen to all this neat stuff....
Adam: uhhuh, ok, ok, uhhuh, mmhm, ok, ok, ok, sure, ok, ok, ok, uhhuh, umhmm, ok, ok, ok, ok,

Looks fantastic. But the big question is QNX is a BlackBerry owned company why oh why isn't that a BlackBerry 10 phone in the video.

You can just as easily say that other devices can do this, just like you did with the Sony but FFS BlackBerry pull your finger out.

Even if this isnt available on a consumer BB10 handset you should have got one ready for the show. The car isn't available yet so the phone doesn't need to be either. Again just state that the feature will be available in a coming update.

I hear all this talk about being Enterprise ready well you know what an enterprise ready car with balance capabilities would be amazing.


Family/friends in the car BB10 connects standard mode. Drop the kids at school, partner gets out you swipe down on your handset and you dashboard changes you work mode. You drive to work you can pick up your emails. Have them read to you on your commute. HUD shows names of callers so your eyes don't leave the road to answer. Car security locksdowns dependent on chosen level of need.

On the way home you send a glimpse to the kids they know your on route to get ready to go. Partners knows your on the way and calls asking you to pick up "X" from "Y" at a push of a button SatNav alters to new destination. As you get back in the car you send another glimpse to the kids which updates your toa.

As the children get into the car picks up unauthorised bluetooth signals and switches out of work mode. Automatically securing your work eviroment and ending your work day (obviously people can still call).

All done through the connectivity of your enterprise ready, balanced, BB10 handset and you QNX enabled car. Obviously with BYOD other operating systems will have similar but limited capabilities but only because they don't have BlackBerry Balance phones.

Damn tke to the next level and have a QNX secured limo with a HUD on the glass partition so Mr President can have his ultrahigh level workspace on the road as well as in the air.... have vision.

Posted via CB10

I am sure that all this is possible. Unfortunately, it is up to the car manufacturer to realise the potential of QNX and develop for it.

What QNX shows us is just demos of what is possible. These are not, as far as I am aware, production models.

Posted via my Z30.

Imagine if BlackBerry could accomodate the normal people and create a BB10 tablet and an app gap free phone.......nice to see they finally got their priorities straight (Sarcasm)....

Posted Via Z10

Unless, margins improve on tablets, there is no point in making them. It has nothing to do with priorities.

Posted via CB10


Which car should i choose? the one with the open standard MiraCast, Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay, Intel WiDi, or Microsoft PlayTo?!?

If you were an automotive manufacturer the odds are you will likely prefer the open standard.
if you are a company that makes in car operating systems, it might be beneficial to demonstrate that you play nicely with others.

This is called... a smart move.

and FYI, a blackberry would work just the same.

Well, said...... Some people here get the BB blinders on, and just can't see anything else....... If your QNX trying to promote a product, I think you want the world to see you play nice with everyone...... not just BB. and yeah, he does have the BB logo on his shirt.

That is one nice looking dash, I've never been a big fan of the all digital dash... this I could live with :-)

Posted via CB10

Nice to see they got their priorities straight at BlackBerry. They can't update or come out with a BB10 Playbook of sorts, but they can develop this stuff. Do the majority of the users have enough money to buy a QNX car? No. Why not develop a freaking tablet for your everyday user base?

I just don't get it BlackBerry. You have unfinished business, one being you have no BB10 tablet. Get out of the clouds with these QNX cars, and start accommodating your user base.

Give us a BB10 tablet, and concentrate on developing and DELIVERING an app gap free phone and TABLET.

For heaven's need these things more than a QNX car......

Posted Via Z10

Tablets outside the iPad are big time
Money losers. Margins suck and demand uncertain. I think that is pretty much the story.

Posted via CB10

Honestly ? QNX MAKES MONEY !! and we all know how well the playbook did :/ As THBW said, it's a tough market... even Microsoft took a big loss on the Surface, and IMO, it blows the iPad away. As much as I'd like to see a BB10 PB myself, it's just not good business sense for BB.

"Do the majority of the users have enough money to buy a QNX car? No." Actually YES, most cars today are running on QNX. your Honda, Toyota, GM, Hyundai, Chrysler etc, etc..... all run on QNX. Interface may not be as fancy as these concept cars, but when you make a hands free call in your car, there's a good chance your doing it on QNX.

This is putting the technology they already to good use. Plus, people are not buying QNX cars. They are buying whatever car they want and if it happens to have a QNX-developed system in its dash, that's more money for BlackBerry.

And as @THBW points out above, most tablets in the market are money losers. Learning from the PlayBook, they will not be rushing another tablet to the market unless they *know* it's a winner. They don't have the luxury to try and fail at another tablet. It would be a financial and PR disaster.

Waited all day for this video. Really wish it was more in depth with Adam asking a lot more questions, not to mention more close-up video of the ux.

Where is the marketing behind QNX? It's not making the headlines at CES.

Posted via CB10

Engine sound enhancement on a Kia Soul... Doesn't sound very fitting to me lol

Posted via the super amazing BlackBerry Q10

Yeah, probably shows my age, but I'd have no use for a system that makes a "Kia sound like a Challenger". Even less so for an external sound system that screams I AM A HORSEPOWER WANNABE.

Otherwise, the QNX systems are awesome.

Getting rid of the unwanted internal acoustic issues will be a growth industry. It is easier to do so electronically than mechanically.

Posted via CB10

The engine sound enhancement is actually currently being used by BMW on the F10 M5. They made the cabin so quiet, that they had to had to pump the engine sound in the cabin thru the speakers at high revs.

Posted via CB10

Interesting how QNX was running an android app. Seems like the VM BlackBerry developed is being put to good use.

Posted via CB10

My question is. If this partnership works out and Mercedes-Benz sells a ton of these cars,Don't those funds go to blackberry seeing as qnx is owned by them and why are we calling it qnx when they are now blackberry

Posted via CB10

Esoteric comment, but for those who get it... Am I wrong or did we just see a white version of "what's in the box?" May never hit the streets, but good to see all the same, speaking of tablets.

Holy! Adam's talking started to annoy me, it sounded like he had no interest in doing it and was just trying to shut the guy up.

All it's very cool! I wish my next car had QNX software, but one question and an idea: Why they show the interface with a cellphone with a Xperia and not a Z30 (they are Blackberry)? And they need to get connected with all the phones, but develop a plus if you have a BB10.
I do not but maybe options like control functions of the car by the phone like, windows, start, climate, see the cameras, lights, and maybe control de car for parking it in very small places (you are out of the car controlling it).
BB Rocks!!!, but they need to show it!

I'm guessing if the side of the car said "BlackBerry" it would be ignored and laughed at. Does this mean this is the end of BB10? Joe Average knows nothing about QNX, and the name sounds more technical than "BlackBerry" Seeing how CES is in the USA, and the name "BlackBerry" doesn't have the most positive reaction at the moment.

Don't want to sound pessimistic but until we see this being introduced into actual consumer production cars its akin the all the stuff we saw demoed by tat not too long ago.
After all these demoes its time to put up or shut up.

Posted via CB10

JUST let me know when QNX Gets a sale worth discussing. This is like buying a car and decking out in a chop shop! 1 of a kind, but no contracts making money.

Posted via CB10

I think one of the coolest aspects of this is that is seems to be closely related to the BB10 code base, or at least uses some of BB10's tricks, which is why it has a JellyBean runtime built in just like BB10.2.

Anyone else find it ironic that QNX was running their acoustics demo on the Kia Soul off of an ipad?

No, not crazy. Lame. So sounds over the speaker is what impressed you the most?!

And still demoing QNX in insanely priced vehicles while Google is securing wins with the likes of Nissan and Honda for mass market vehicles?

These people never learn.

Yeah and it the USA TODAY article they didn't mention QNX at all, even when mentioning the Kia and Mercedes, although they mentioned Android several times, especially concerning the Audi.

Posted via CB10