AWS And BlackBerry Partner To Create Secure Intelligent Vehicle Platform

This announcement coming right after the Execute episode of “FBI: Most Wanted” was surprisingly well-timed.  In that episode, a hacker took the remote control of a car, causing it to drive off the road at speed killing all on board, and he threatened to do that with all of the car company’s cars unless they paid a large ransom.  As we move to ever more automation and drive-by-wire systems, the risks associated with a compromised vehicle operating system are potentially far direr than those associated with PCs and Smartphones.  

Using a company that lives and breathes security like BlackBerry is critical to assuring the solution will do as it is intended and not put drivers and passengers at unnecessary risk.  These systems will increasingly connect to the cloud for updates, monitoring, and increased processing power, helping to drive other initiatives like Cloud Computing and 5G.  Amazon is arguably the most potent Cloud provider at the moment. As an online retailer that lives off delivery services they increasingly provide themselves, their ability to assist with this solution is not only unprecedented; their need for this solution is as well.  

Let’s talk about Amazon and BlackBerry’s new alliance this week and how it could change the face of car entertainment, management, autonomous driving, and especially security.  

The Problems

Carmakers are increasingly looking for ways to provide a similar experience to what Tesla does for its customers, where updates are something the owner anticipates favorably. Particularly as the industry moves from just monetizing car sales to creating more of an extended tailed revenue model tied to services, the ability to enhance, improve, and update the car remotely and safely gains increased importance both for revenue and customer satisfaction.  But this has to be done without compromising customer privacy or security.  And Safety is fast becoming, as that “FBI: Most Wanted” episode suggests paramount.  

Cars are increasingly becoming connected to the cloud and disconnected from the driver.  We see this in the more advanced electric cars that use drive by wire systems that decouple the driver from both the brakes and steering. Still, eventually, this will evolve down two paths called Chauffeur and Guardian Angel.  Interestingly, we tend to look at the Chauffeur model as the most likely but the Guardian Angel model (these are terms out of Toyota) as the more attractive.  

Chauffeur eliminates the need for a driver. Intel’s testing showcased that people using this capability don’t even want controls in the car because they are uncertain what they would do with them in case of an emergency.   In short, under this model, you only have passengers, and it becomes questionable whether you’d own a car in the first place, likely favoring a service model like Uber or Lyft instead.  

The more exciting and often more attractive model for existing drivers is Guardian Angel.  With this model, you still have full in-car controls, but they are all driven by wire, and the system operates to primarily prevent accidents though, it too, can take control of the car and drive you as needed.  With this solution, you feel like you are driving. Still, you aren’t in full control, and the car can instantly take over to avoid an accident, correct dangerous behavior, or even lock you out of the controls if you are behaving unsafely or under the influence.  

In both cases, were the car taken over by a hostile actor, those inside the car would be passengers and likely statistics if the car’s other safety systems didn’t kick in to protect the occupants.  

This security risk means that any solution to enhance a car’s functions must be secure at the start.  Nowt 

BlackBerry Ivy

BlackBerry Ivy starts out being a secure solution for the rapid development of in-vehicle features and functions.  It is designed so that a carmaker can develop, test, and deploy updates to the car’s systems securely and safely, providing a path so that the carmaker can improve their engagement with the car owner without compromising them in any material way.  The resulting applications can be used across entire car lines and from fixed systems to systems that evolve with the technology and can be more customized to the drivers’ needs.  These systems will also provide the carmakers with data that will allow them to understand how the cars are being used, what is working well and what is not, and allow for a healthier path for improvement over the vehicle and car line’s life.  The eventual goal is to create in-car systems that adapt and evolve with the car owner improving their connection to the vehicle and car brand while improving customer loyalty.  

In short, BlackBerry Ivy is a shortcut for carmakers to take to get to the car of the future. With AWS’s critical backing, they not only have a more robust path to market but a global partner that can better assure Ivy’s place in the emerging increasingly autonomous car world.  

Wrapping Up:   Taking The Secure Path To The Future

Coupled with QNX, the most widely used and secure automotive OS in the market, Ivy provides a secure and rapid path for carmakers to increase engagement with car owners to enhance their experience with their beloved cars.  AWS provides the critical back end to this solution assuring global coverage and anticipating when every car is connected and benefits from that connection. 

But the most critical part of this is that it was designed at the start to be extremely secure and, added to QNX, should provide an automotive platform that you can trust with your family.  We all want a better future, but that future needs to be safe as well, and Ivy helps assure this preferred outcome.