Blackberry partners to offer infotainment system in digital instrument clusters

Blackberry also announced a new OS for running vehicle safety systems

DETROIT -- Blackberry's QNX Software Systems on Wednesday announced a partnership that will allow its infotainment system to appear in vehicle digital instrument clusters.

The technology will allow drivers to see their music lists and album art, turn-by-turn navigation directions and local news in between instruments such as the speedometer and tachometer.

The QNX OS allows music lists and album art to be displayed in front of the driver. (Photos: Lucas Mearian/Computerworld)

BlackBerry announced its collaboration with Rightware, a maker of automotive user interface design tools, at the Telematics Detroit show here. The collaboration combines the QNX Neutrino operating system and the Rightware Kanzi user interface.

QNX demonstrated the instrument cluster in a Mercedes-Benz concept car. The system also uses MirrorLink, an industry standard for the integration of smartphones into infotainment systems. The system is able to mirror Android-based smartphones to both the infotainment center on the console and the instrument cluster display.

With the MirrorLink connection, the instrument cluster can display realtime information, such as local speed limits, turn-by-turn directions, traffic reports and incoming phone calls. Because the cluster is fully digital, it can dynamically change views, highlighting the most important information and using advanced visualizations to help the driver process information more quickly.

"QNX Software Systems and Rightware have already worked together on successful production programs, including the exciting new Audi virtual cockpit," said Peter McCarthy, director of global alliances for QNX.

The QNX Neutrino operating system and the Rightware Kanzi user interface allow infotainment system information such as phone calls or turn-by-turn navigation to be displayed right in front of a driver.

With the Kanzi software, developers can create UIs with photorealistic, real-time 2D and 3D graphics. The QNX OS enables the Kanzi UI to access vehicle data and services, including navigation, multimedia, speed, RPM, and car diagnostics. It essentially provides an abstraction layer based on QNX's persistent publish/subscribe (PPS) technology.

Telematics that display vehicle safety info

In other news, Blackberry's QNX division announced QNX OS for Automotive Safety 1.0, a telematics platform designed to run and display vehicle safety information.

"While automakers such as Audi, Land Rover, and Jaguar already use the existing QNX OS for digital instrument clusters, this is our first OS that is set to be certified to the (fairly new) ISO 26262 safety standard," a BlackBerry spokeswoman said.

The new OS, she said, 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.

This article, Blackberry partners to offer infotainment system in digital instrument clusters, was originally published at

Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

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