BlackBerry/L-SPARK Accelerator Program to help small Canadian companies develop AV tech

BlackBerry is adding its support to an effort to help small Canadian technology companies connect with global automakers and other players in autonomous transportation.

The BlackBerry/L-SPARK Accelerator Program is looking for startups with business models and technologies that align with the BlackBerry QNX product group’s technological initiatives, leveraging its embedded software platform, in next generation applications such as vehicle software and medical device systems, among others.

As part of the program, BlackBerry will help participating companies research and develop product prototypes in areas such as robotics, device security, sensor fusion (e.g. lidar, radar, cameras and GPS), functional safety, analytics, medical devices and autonomous vehicles.

“Partnering with BlackBerry to accelerate the growth of high-potential Canadian SMEs is the most effective way to grow the next great, global, technology company,” said Leo Lax, executive managing director, L-Spark.

“But more importantly, it is a great way to elevate the entire Canadian technology community to reach and thrive within the global marketplace.”

L-SPARK will turn to the expertise of the National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), and its network of Industrial Technology Advisors, to reach out to companies with business models and technologies that could benefit from working with the BlackBerry QNX product group. Ultimately, six companies will be selected to join the accelerator program for six months of intensive, one-on-one, training aimed to grow and scale each company and bring new products to market.

Grant Courville, vice president of QNX engineering, BlackBerry said,

“BlackBerry is proud to play an integral role in the growth of Canada’s innovation economy,”

“The new accelerator program is a great opportunity for us to better interact and collaborate with Canadian software companies and help bring to market innovative products that will shape the way we’ll live, work and play in the future.”

Courville added,

“The benefit to us is to hopefully instil some passion, some excitement, some innovation with these companies, because there is so much technology and so much talent that’s needed to get from where we are today to that automated and autonomous vehicle,”

The Accelerator will be looking to accelerate companies who fall within these specialised industries such as:

  • Automotive ECU Software and Engineering Services
  • Automotive ECU Analytics and Diagnostic Software and Services
  • Automotive V2X Software and Engineering Services
  • Robotics and Autonomous “vehicle” Software and Engineering Services
  • Safety Software Products and Related Engineering Services (industrial, automotive, medical, rail, factory automation and aviation)
  • Security Software Products and Services such as PKI and managed PKI, embedded intrusion detection and protection systems

Companies that are brought into the Accelerator will develop a working relationship with a global corporation while also benefiting from the connections and exposure associated with being linked to a company like BlackBerry QNX.

BlackBerry QNX will provide in kind support for participating SMEs by providing them free licenses and training to use BlackBerry QNX operating systems. These operating systems appear in everything from automobiles to medical instrumentation and are used by corporate leaders around the globe including Cisco, Siemens and General Electric.

Additionally, company-building mentors at L-SPARK will help SMEs develop proof of concepts, Minimum Viable Products (MVP), and scaling strategies while also facilitating a frictionless relationship between the SMEs and BlackBerry QNX.

For more information, or to apply to the accelerator program, visit here.

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