Earlier this year, BlackBerry announced that it was shifting research and development for its QNX platform, which powers the infotainment systems in millions of cars around the world, to include autonomous vehicles. The idea was to leverage QNX's powerful embedded position in the industry to leverage BlackBerry as a contender in the self-driving car space against the likes of Tesla, Apple and Google.

Now, the company is opening a dedicated facility in Ottawa, with support from the Canadian government, to further those plans. From Reuters:

After a detour where QNX's industrial-focused software was used to reinvent the now-discarded BlackBerry phone operating system, BlackBerry is focused on how its embedded software interacts with the explosion of sensors, cameras and other components required for a car to drive itself.

But while deep-pocketed Silicon Valley has invested heavily in the artificial intelligence and machine learning required for autonomy, more financially constrained BlackBerry has not, eyeing instead a niche role as a trusty sidekick.

BlackBerry will try to insert its QNX tech into the places that matter most to customers: safety and reliability, helping manufacturers like Ford and "more than one or two major global automakers" make their self-driving cars more intelligent and better able to adapt to the unpredictable nature of live roads. BlackBerry received permission to test self-driving technology in the province of Ontario, where its Waterloo headquarters is located, with Ford vehicles.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the opening of the new research facility, which has support from federal and provincial levels of government.