Ford Motor Company has assumed a work site in Sunrise, Florida that previously belonged to mobile handset-maker and software developer BlackBerry, according to the Sun Sentinel. It’s reportedly one of five former BlackBerry sites that Ford has appropriated in the last few years, hiring on former employees of the one-time smartphone company to work on in-car connectivity and other emerging automotive technologies.
The former BlackBerry employees Ford has hired on in Sunrise, Florida will go to work on autonomous vehicle research, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Ford Motor Company has close business ties with BlackBerry; the tech company’s QNX Unix-like operating system underpins the latest version of Ford’s SYNC infotainment, after the Microsoft-based SYNC and MyFord Touch garnered widespread criticism for their lag and frequent bugs. In November, 2016, BlackBerry said that it was working with Ford on other implementations for its QNX operating system, possibly including things like active safety systems and autonomous driving software.
“The possibilities of where we can be used in the vehicle is basically in the entire vehicle,” said BlackBerry Senior VP and Head of QNX John Wall at the time.
Last March, Ford announced that it was hiring on 400 new engineers between the US and Canada to work on connectivity, with many of the new hires coming from BlackBerry. The mobile technology company has had to scale back its employees over the past years as its smartphone business all but evaporated, but the company is still fighting to return to the fore.