Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Last week, BlackBerry launched QNX Hypervisor 2.0, a system enabling the use of software containers in cars. It aims to tackle software safety and security concerns, two of the most important factors affecting the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles. Software containers are isolated spaces running on top of the operating system kernel, providing barriers between various functions of a platform. BlackBerry has recognised the possibility of hacking attacks on cars, particularly after news outlets have shown the potential dangers in connected cars.
QNX Hypervisor 2.0 is based on BlackBerry's 64-bit embedded operating system, QNX SDP 7.0. QNX is a widely implemented platform for in-car infotainment systems and runs in more than 60 million cars worldwide.
By using containers, QNX Hypervisor 2.0 can prevent vehicles from being hacked, as it's capable of running independent systems on a single piece of silicon. For example, a vehicle's instrument cluster will be protected if the infotainment system is hacked or fails as the two operate as separate instances of the operating system.
From seat belts to child restraint systems and air bags, vehicle safety has seen an evolution. Now, as connected cars become accepted, they're causing a new type of safety concern. Over the past few years, researchers have been able to hack a car's infotainment system and gain access to critical functions such as the brakes and locks, bringing such potential vulnerabilities to the headlines. QNX aims to address these problems.
Connected cars are one of fastest-growing segments of the cellular industry. Autonomous features and, ultimately, self-driving cars are creating the need for air-tight IT security in vehicles. It's a golden opportunity for companies such as BlackBerry.