QNX announces new safety focused Automotive operating system

By Richard Devine on 4 Jun 2014 07:20 am EDT

BlackBerry owned QNX has today announced a brand new operating system for the car with with a distinct focus on safety behind the wheel. The QNX® OS for Automotive Safety 1.0 will provide the groundwork for such in-car technology as digital instrument clusters, head-up displays and advanced driver assistance systems.

The QNX OS for Automotive Safety – rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it – also has affordability in mind, with a direct goal of reducing the development and certification costs of the sort of advanced features it's capable of powering.

The new operating system has been unveiled today at the Detroit Telematics Conference and is expected to be released sometime in Q3 2014. Full press release follows.

DETROIT, Telematics Detroit Conference, June 4, 2014 — QNX Software Systems Limited, a subsidiary of BlackBerry Limited and a global leader in software platforms for in-car electronics, today announced the QNX® OS for Automotive Safety 1.0. Built on QNX technology proven in many of the world's most safety-critical systems, the new OS addresses the growing demand for digital instrument clusters, heads-up displays, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and other in-car applications with functional safety requirements.

The QNX OS for Automotive Safety 1.0 is set to be certified for use in systems that comply with ISO 26262, up to Automotive Safety Integrity Level D — the highest level achievable. Certification to this functional safety standard provides independent validation that a product offers a very high level of reliability and risk reduction when used in electrical, electronic, and software-based systems in passenger vehicles.

"Safety-critical systems have been our bread and butter for almost 30 years," said Grant Courville, director, product management, QNX Software Systems. "That experience, combined with our proven competency in safety certifications and software deployed in tens of millions of vehicles, makes QNX the ideal OS supplier for automotive companies building systems with ISO 26262 ASIL requirements."

Freedom from interference Digital instrument clusters and ADAS systems will become pervasive only if automotive companies can produce them economically. The QNX OS for Automotive Safety is geared to significantly reduce the development and certification costs of such systems by allowing safety-critical functions (e.g. engine malfunction warnings) to run on the same hardware module as non-safety critical functions (e.g. RPM).

To enable this consolidation, the OS provides fine-grained process isolation and memory protection, enabling safety-critical components to enjoy freedom of interference from other components. It also supports QNX adaptive time partitioning, a unique technology that further enables freedom of interference by preventing safety-critical components from being starved of CPU cycles by other components.

Beyond the OS Because ISO 26262 is relatively new, the process of certification is still unchartered territory for most automakers and automotive Tier 1 suppliers. It's a long and rigorous undertaking that, if approached incorrectly, can result in significant product delays. QNX Software Systems can help these companies navigate the complexities of their system-level certifications — not only with the QNX® OS for Automotive Safety, but through the invaluable expertise gained from its successful certification programs. These include OS certification to the IEC 61508 functional safety standard, which forms the basis of ISO 26262.

Growing demand Demand for ISO 26262 certification is ramping up, as more cars come equipped with digital instrument clusters and with ADAS systems that provide lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and other safety-related functions. This demand will only grow as such systems develop the sophistication necessary to enable autonomous driving. Moreover, boundaries are blurring: infotainment systems are also starting to integrate ADAS functions, creating demand for platforms that can support both safety-critical and non safety-critical functions.

"The democratization of advanced driver assistance features and applications continues to expand into all vehicle segments and will lead to the arrival of self-aware and self-driving vehicles during this decade," said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at Gartner, Inc. "The foundation for this evolution are cost-effective software and hardware solutions that can be deployed quickly and reliably."

Newest addition ISO 26262 certification represents the latest development in QNX Software Systems' standards and certifications programs. To date, the company's products and processes have achieved certification to IEC 61508 SIL 3 (functional safety), Common Criteria EAL 4+ (security), POSIX PSE52 Realtime Controller profile (portability and determinism), and ISO 9001:2008 (management system), as well as compliance with IEC 62304 (medical device software).

Certification of the QNX OS for Automotive Safety 1.0 will encompass validation of QNX toolchain components, enabling them to be used in 26262 projects.

Availability The QNX OS for Automotive Safety 1.0 is scheduled for release in Q3 2014.

Topics: QNX News & Rumors

Reader comments

QNX announces new safety focused Automotive operating system


QuIcKsIlV3r: In fact, I have not good feeling when this kind of news appears in time before earning report. I am awaiting not very good financial result (worst than predictions) and also I hope that I am wrong about feeling.

Does this mean there will officially be a complete version of QNX OS, like the ones we see in the demos, available and in cars?

No because it is not the interest of QNX. They will provide a canvas so that car manufacturers can add their user experience signature on top of it, as well as remove some features and add some others, and then out that in some of their car models that will be sold to consumers.

Posted via CB10

Looking forward to the day when ever model line of vehicle offers this instead of just the top tier.

Posted via CB10

I didn't see anything ground breaking here. Digital dashes, heads-up display... old technology.
As a stock holder, hopefully this is bigger than just the few items mentioned. Safety always has a future.

Posted via CB10

I wouldn't call it "old" technology, my car doesn't have any of those things and it's not what I'd call "old." What QNX is doing here is providing a new, better operating system to build these technologies on.

As a stock holder ( I am not) could you see this as being able to sell a heck of a lot more licensing an I mean Millions more than blackberry can sell hand set's. There's nothing innovative about it. The fact that they're putting their products to the consumers into something that are used around the world by hundreds of millions of people should make any shareholder happy


You probably noticed that the automotive industry is advancing far slower than anything else to preserve security. QNX products are not all about gimmicks and gadgets as with smartphones, it's also centered in integrated modules that combine several functions, with the objective of cutting costs, and as mentioned in the paper, to get certification faster.

I think this one is a nice investment for their future, they'll sell tons of them. But they will probably not be present in cars for a couple of years, following the automotive industry pace. I also love the fact that they innovate with one hand, and optimise with the other.

BlackBerry's decision to let QNX operate the way they always have is a very good decision, and I don't think it will change much will John Chen.

Posted via CB10 on my Z30STA100-5/

The innovation is the computer process by which you achieve stability. It's called distributive computer, small mircokernals each working together when needed to perform an integrated function. Very interesting and inherently more flexible and reliable than the old Linux macrokernel designs used by Google and apple in their products. The problem with Linux macokernals is that when you start changing code, you can't predict how it will alter the performance of the device. Consequently, the default is not to change coding and to adapt to changing needs. Just look at the speed at which BlackBerry has been able to develop a whole new operating system and then provide substantive updates every three months. Compare that to Apple who with a mound of cash is only able to achieve minor tweaks to their operating system on a yearly basis. The contrast is quite stark.

Posted via CB10

I wonder what QNX is planning along the lines of those driverless cars google is always talking about.

Q10SQN100-1/ CB10'n

Can you imagine a QNX branded car instead of these "parts" or "components" they are talking about here?

Q10SQN100-1/ CB10'n

Android powered driverless car? Ouch, what if it catches malware....?

Feel safer with QNX....

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

They will announce and demo things forever and then never release it, while the competition has now caught up and full speed ahead in the automotive industry. The story of BlackBerry

Posted via CB10

Whatever do you mean? QNX has been delivering for decades. Why should that change now? Your cynicism is misplaced with regard to this part of the BlackBerry business. Apple and many of the others that make consumer announcements for infotainment systems are building on a QNX platform. You may wish that QNX (BlackBerry) gets more publicity for the OS but that is a different matter from product execution and delivery. In that respect QNX has a decent if not excellent track record.

Posted via CB10

Great news! I wish if BlackBerry will partner with a car manufacturer and work further on navigation / maps so after that BlackBerry 10 devices can also benefit from it.

Posted via CB10

This is important news. Finally here is some REVENUE for BlackBerry from QNX

Signature - Google wants your info. What are you gonna do about it?

It brings battery pull to a whole new level

But seriously I don't recall ever having to do one on my z

I can't wait to see some of the ui they come up with to front end it.

I think you guys are reading the words you understand from the article instead of understanding what this new OS is all about...

This article is explaining that this new safety OS is basically going to combine two separate automotive systems into one, safely, which is the key word

Obviously if you run one system to do the basic stuff (heads up display, digital dash, nav... thats all fine and dandy... but it cant ALSO run the safety programming in the background on the same CPU because if the CPU or memory hangs, so do your safety programs... which obviously if you were to crash while this is happening, the airbags, etc wouldn't deploy

So currently there are two separate systems in vehicles, one for safety, the other to run the usual stuff...

What QNX can do, because they can manage memory allocation and CPU time, they can run everything on one system SAFELY, because they can always give priority to the safety systems, so if the UI freezes, your safety programs can still be chugging away in the background

Posted via CB10

Good point. People forget that unless the bells and whistles are safe, governments won't allow them to be adopted. Distracted driving is a huge concern and so are properly functioning cars. Look at all the safety recalls. So if a better OS is developed that is safer, more efficient and cost effective then the car companies are going to take a good hard look at it.

Posted via CB10

I scored John Chen with 5 Stars ladt month before all these press releases. Stand up and be counted!

Go, go BlackBerry!

Most likely posted via CB10 from my amazing Z30, but may have been posted from my awesome PlayBook.

I'm tired of reading "BlackBerry owned QNX"!

I wanna' read "QNX Blackberrie's Cash Crop"!

 BlackBerry Q10  Keep The Faith 

This will hopefully make cars a bit less expensive in the coming years...being able to run safety items and the "doodads" on one system, safely, is quite an achievement. this will make govt.mandated safety requirements (like integrating backup cameras into all new us cars by 2017) a lot easier to implement and cheaper for the consumer. Yay!!!!
I buy 10-15 cars a week for my company, it would be a welcome thing to not have price changes to constantly deal with!

BlackBerry by choice,blackberry for life!

Posted via CB10

Existing vehicles should be able to be upgraded to it. I guess.

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

Now let's get some of that speech command stuff into our berries because current voice command feature is lacking

Posted from my Z30 on CB10

I really like where this a going, but I heard him say that QNX was in tens of millions of vehicles... if this was so successful, why are we so negative cash flow, with a SP in the toilet?

Hers to looking forward to brighter days and a much(?) higher stock price....