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As more technologies are emerging in the field of autonomous vehicles, the assurance of their security has become a major imperative.

A new real-time, type 1 hypervisor software that can be used in next-generation connected and autonomous vehicles was announced recently. “There is no safety without security,” said John Wall, senior vice president and head of BlackBerry QNX regarding the new QNX Hypervisor 2.0. “If hackers can access a car through a non-critical ECU (engine control unit) system, they can tamper or take over safety-critical areas, such as the steering system, brakes or engine.” The technology “safeguards against these types of attacks and is a key component of our multi-level approach to securing connected and autonomous vehicles.”.

The hypervisor is based on QNX SDP 7.0, a 64-bit embedded operating system that enables “developers to partition and isolate safety-critical environments from non-safety critical environments,” notes a statement from BlackBerry.

According to, this approach “creates virtual software containers, such that any hiccup or breach in a single car functional domain can be isolated and does not impact or create vulnerabilities in other domains of the car,” explains the company.

For example, the virtual cockpit uses a single chip to run both an infotainment system and digital instrument cluster (comprises the speedometer, odometer and gas tank indicator). “If the infotainment system were to crash, it would not take the safety-critical systems down with it,” the statement points out.

BlackBerry further announced that Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. has adopted QNX Hypervisor 2.0 as part of certain digital cockpit solutions, the statement notes.

“Combining BlackBerry’s hypervisor with the high-performance compute and connectivity capabilities of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820Am automotive platform can support automakers to integrate the infotainment system and instrument cluster using the same SoC,” it adds.

The ability to run concurrent operating systems on top of the hypervisor on the automotive platform “will help automakers to reduce hardware complexity and cost in their vehicles,” adds Nakul Duggal, Qualcomm Technologies’ vice president, product management, automotive.