BlackBerry debuted a new research center dedicated to autonomous driving technologies at a press conference Monday.
The BlackBerry QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre will hire local software engineers to develop new systems both independently and in collaboration with public and private-sector partners.
Company officials said its initial priorities would include a pilot program to test autonomous vehicles on Ontario roads and a prototype self-driving vehicle developed with PolySync, Renesas Electronics and the University of Waterloo.
"Autonomous vehicles require software that is extremely sophisticated and highly secure," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen. "Our innovation track record in mobile security and our demonstrated leadership in automotive software make us ideally suited to dominate the market for embedded intelligence in the cars of the future."
The Canadian telecommunications company dominated the early smartphone market but turned to software and business services in recent years as Apple, Samsung and other companies eroded its mobile device market share.
The self-driving facility will be housed within an Ottawa complex dedicated to QNX software, which already helps power more than 60 million vehicles worldwide.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added that BlackBerry would "is helping to establish our country as the global leader in software and security for connected car and autonomous vehicle development."