The Brains Behind Driverless Cars

By 2027, the driverless car market is expected to reach $65.3 billion in the United States, and some industry experts predict all cars on the road will be autonomous by 2030. Although Tesla and Waymo are grabbing most of the headlines with their driverless car experiments, there are several under-the-radar companies you should know about.


In 2016, BlackBerry stopped manufacturing its popular phones and started focusing on software. Today, it’s partnered with Ford and other car manufacturers, working to help them make autonomous vehicles. The BlackBerry QNX division is working on software solutions for driverless cars and has opened an autonomous vehicle innovation center in Ottawa, Canada.

In 2017, BlackBerry QNX tested an experimental self-driving car in Ottawa. People gathered to watch the Lincoln MKZ make its way down a closed street for the demonstration. For this test, the city allowed several upgrades, such as traffic lights with transmitters that can talk to the car. BlackBerry’s goal is to create the software foundation for driverless cars, so manufacturers can build on it.


You’ve probably seen the “Intel inside” stickers on computers. However, today the company is diversifying and using its technology background to help build driverless cars. Intel is collaborating with Waymo on the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans by supplying the computer chips.

Intel also bought Mobileye, which is a company that creates software for Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS). ADAS will help keep drivers safe on the road by using different technology, such as sensors, radar, computer vision, and networking. Intel’s EyeQ5 chip will be in the autonomous vehicles that also use Mobileye technology.


NVIDIA is a company that makes graphics processing units (GPUs) and other technology for computers. It’s also involved in the driverless car market because it wants to supply hardware and software. For example, the NVIDIA DRIVE AGX is a computing platform designed for autonomous vehicles that rely on artificial intelligence (AI).

NVIDIA also provides other services for autonomous car manufacturers, such as data collection from multiple sensors, a training library for AI, and simulation systems. The company is partnering with car and truck manufacturers to provide these components. Essentially, NVIDIA is building the brain for self-driving cars, so manufacturers can customize it and make it unique.

Setting industry standards

Driverless car manufacturers have many hurdles ahead of them. BlackBerry, Intel, NVIDIA, and other companies must create software and hardware that thinks better than a person behind the wheel does. They must also set standards, such as safety, security, and privacy measures to keep passengers in self-driving cars safe. For instance, BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen is intent on driving global safety standards for autonomous vehicles.

Self-driving technology is evolving rapidly, but each company is working separately. For autonomous vehicles to become a reality on the roads, companies will eventually have to come together and create industry standards. They’ll also have to commit to adhering to these standards in the future.

Future of self-driving cars

As the focus shifts to self-driving cars, you can expect to see even more companies join BlackBerry, Intel, NVIDIA, and others in the manufacturing process. You can already buy cars, such as Tesla, that have driver-assistance systems to help you stay in a lane or park in a small space. As technology becomes more advanced, computer systems will be able to control more aspects of driving.

Although there are some concerns, experts predict that switching to a fully autonomous car market will eventually reduce or eliminate accidents. There won’t be lost drivers, drunk drivers, or distracted drivers. Instead, cars will be able to communicate with each other and prevent accidents from happening. Not everyone will want to change to a driverless vehicle, but more people will accept the industry shift over time.


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