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BlackBerry QNX says it will be teaming up with L-SPARK to support a second cohort of early stage companies developing autonomous and connected vehicle technologies.

The initial round included seven Canadian companies working closely with the tech giant and concluded in May when the companies unveiled their latest innovations.

“(BlackBerry) has recognized that there is an ecosystem in Canada that is useful and worthwhile for them to engage with and it shows that they see a benefit in helping this ecosystem integrate their capabilities,” says Leo Lax, L-SPARK’s executive managing director.

The new automotive tech software developed by the first cohort was trialed at the L5 test track in Kanata, where the Canadian companies took the stage with Blackberry QNX. 

The group had the chance to work one-on-one with BlackBerry and its system for six months to create a product that could build off QNX technology.

“We were extremely pleased with the success we were able to help these companies achieve,” Lax says. “This was not a make-believe activity – this was real software working in a real operational vehicle. It was truly a testament to the commitment of both QNX to the program as well as the early stage companies themselves.”

Three of the seven companies that participated in the first L-SPARK-BlackBerry incubator hailed from Ottawa. That included Kanata North’s Martello, which introduced its proof of concept that focused on maintaining reliable cellular connectivity in self-driving cars. 

Applications for the second round will open in the coming months, with the program set to take place next year.

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