Q&A: John Wall

QNX's senior vice-president explains how the software firm is expanding its portfolio to include autonomous vehicle systems

You’re working more closely with Ford, how is this different to other relationships you have in the industry?
The thing that is unique about this deal is that typically when QNX has been used in automotive for infotainment, telematics or instrument clusters the licensing deal has always been done through a Tier One, and then the Tier One produces a product and that’s delivered to the OEM. In this case this is Ford licensing directly from QNX and taking more of an active role in the development of the systems in their cars.

Will the relationship with Ford change the way you work?
I don’t know that it’s going to dramatically change the way we work, I think providing support to an OEM directly may give us more engagement, more opportunity to see requirements and needs.

How do you see the working relationship with Ford and its engineers developing?
That remains to be seen, and although we’ve been working through a Tier One so we obviously already have a relationship with the Ford engineers, it’s just the licensing term is through the Tier One. We’re going to have a much more direct relationship, but we’ve had a fairly direct relationship when it came to engineering in any case.

Software is becoming more important, what impact is that having on QNX’s business?
The proliferation of active safety, the discussions on autonomous drive, all the Silicon Valley start-ups and the Googles doing autonomous drive projects, I think it’s making OEMs accelerate their move into software. So it’s opening up a lot of opportunities for us. QNX is well known for infotainment, telematics and instrument clusters in the car but our history includes a real-time, mission critical operating system that has all the correct certifications for safety systems, so we see autonomous drive and active safety as a very big opportunity.

tags: QNX Connectivity