Committed to safety – aiDrive ported to BlackBerry's QNX Neutrino RTOS 

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Written by aiMotive / Posted at 11/9/21

Committed to safety – aiDrive ported to BlackBerry's QNX Neutrino RTOS 

aiMotive is on a mission to bring affordable automated driving to all. As part of developing industry-leading solutions to overcome the challenges of automated driving, we've taken another significant step towards becoming a trusted automotive supplier. Our aiDrive software has been fully ported to BlackBerry's QNX® Neutrino® Real-Time Operating System (RTOS), allowing us to offer safety-critical solutions to our partners.

Timing matters – The importance of being an RTOS

While Oscar Wilde may have claimed that "I am always late on principle, my principle being that punctuality is the thief of time," in some cases, not being on time can put lives at risk. This is one of the reasons why driving under the influence is illegal. Alcohol and other substances slow down drivers' reflexes, adding vital milliseconds or seconds to their reaction times.

Luckily, computers don't drink. However, that doesn't mean timing is not a problem. Just as it takes time for the signal to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal to travel along the nerves of your body, electronic messages must do the same over wires.

And then there's the decision-making side of things. No automated driving system has reflexes. Data has to be collected, processed, then decisions have to be made, and actions must be taken, all in fractions of a second. To ensure that everything happens on time consistently, you need a real-time operating system.

Similarly to how Windows, Linux or macOS works in devices you have at home, an RTOS helps software connect with the hardware below, and run efficiently. The difference is that RTOSs have complex technologies built-in to ensure efficient scheduling and task management and minimal latency in execution. Considering its application in automotive systems such as ADAS/AD, the ability to support safety-critical applications adhering to ISO functional safety standards has become a requirement of such an RTOS.

Tried and trusted – BlackBerry QNX, an automotive industry standard 

As in all areas of life, trust takes a lifetime to build and can be lost in an instant in the automotive industry as well. Automotive Tier1s and OEMs will always turn to trusted partners when they can. One such trusted partner is BlackBerry QNX, a provider of one of the standard RTOS solutions deployed worldwide in time-sensitive and reliable automotive use cases.

One of the reasons behind the success of BlackBerry QNX is that its solutions are pre-certified to ISO 26262 ASIL D – the highest safety integrity level. As a result, developers don't have to go through the hassle of certifying the foundation of their solution, drastically accelerating development times. In addition, for non-safety critical systems, the same set of APIs and tools are used for both safety-certified and standard versions of the products.

BlackBerry QNX's microkernel architecture provides temporal and spatial separation along with the proven freedom from interference needed for safety-critical systems. All operating system services such as drivers and applications run outside of kernel space, therefore, enabling high-availability and fault-tolerant designs and maximizing reliability and the creation of reliable, safe and secure automotive systems.

Accelerating development – Balancing safety and ease-of-use

Accelerating the traditional automotive development pipeline without sacrificing safety is one of aiMotive's fundamental values. We believe that relying on the right tools for a given task can accelerate the creation of even the most complex and safety-critical solutions. It follows that BlackBerry QNX seemed like an ideal partner to work with on the next step of our journey towards becoming a trusted automotive supplier: porting aiDrive to the BlackBerry QNX RTOS in preparation for production projects.

"The fact that BlackBerry's QNX Neutrino RTOS is POSIX-based and looks and feels like Linux, our team felt at home working with the platform from the first minutes. This allowed us to port aiDrive to the platform easily, using the same framework as we do in our mainline development. The AUTOSAR support of BlackBerry QNX is also a key factor for us, as it enables automotive industry members to collaborate on larger projects and deliver solutions for mass production," noted Krisztián Holman, Senior Software Engineer of our Embedded Vision Solutions Team.

"It's great to see aiMotive bring their aiDrive software stack to our QNX Neutrino RTOS. This adds to the growing BlackBerry QNX ecosystem and will enable our customers to accelerate their ADAS and automated drive projects," said Grant Courville, Vice President, Products and Strategy at BlackBerry QNX.

Booting up for production – aiDrive on the roads

By leveraging the BlackBerry QNX software portfolio and engineering expertise, our team was able to port the full aiDrive software stack to the BlackBerry QNX RTOS quickly while improving the safety and reliability of our technology.

"aiDrive was designed for safety from the ground up. Running seamlessly on the world's leading RTOS for automated driving shows our commitment to developing robust solutions for our customers," noted László Kishonti, aiMotive founder and CEO.