BlackBerry IVY: Off-Road Driving Thrills & Safety Solutions

Tarun Shome, Product Management Director at BlackBerry IVY, tells us how BlackBerry IVY empowers connected vehicles in their off-road driving adventures

Off-road driving, or four-wheeling depending on who you ride with, sees drivers take on unpaved terrain in their vehicle, navigating muddy patches, rocky deserts, sandy beaches and deep water crossings. 

Off-road driving takes place far away from modern essentials and comforts - on such a drive, you won’t see paved roads. There might not even be much of civilization or a connectivity service, which is a part of the thrill for off-road drivers. 

There are popular off-road driving zones in the Australian outback, Moab National Park in Utah, USA and Dubai, to name a few.

(225 million km from its nearest road) and several similar vehicles have been used by astronauts to explore the Moon — and it can’t get more off-road than that. 

In order to manage the sometimes perilous landscape, off-road vehicles like trucks and SUVs are equipped with four-wheel drive and specialised tires. Other pieces of equipment can be added, such as lift kits and skid plates. Due to the remoteness of such driving, vehicles are also stocked with first aid kits, torches, whistles and signal mirrors. But for those who want to leave their injuries to the professionals, there are a number of 4x4 driving competitions, such as the annual King of the Hammers in California, or Las Vegas’ Mint 400. 

But for those who want to ride alone, off-road driving presents a particular challenge for connected vehicles. 

Connected vehicles — also called smart vehicles — come equipped with internet connectivity and onboard sensors which gather and transmit data. Connected vehicles also allow owners to sync their smartphones with their cars, allowing them to remote unlock doors and monitor their vehicle’s status. Connected cars create a safer driving experience, so there is natural appeal for them in off-road driving. But due to the nature of off-road driving taking place in remote areas, the road less driven is often unable to connect. 

Enter BlackBerry IVY. 

BlackBerry IVY technology enhances electric vehicle connectivity

Canadian multinational company BlackBerry, previously known as Research In Motion (RIM) was founded in 1984 by Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin in Ontario, Canada. BlackBerry first focused on wireless communication technology, which led to the development of the BlackBerry Smartphone in 1999. Users were delighted with the layout of the QWERTY keyboard, compared to the 12-button keypad on other mobile phones. BlackBerry's secure messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger, was also a hit with professionals. But with the rise of touchscreen and the iPhone in 2007, the BlackBerry lost its status and shifted its focus to software. The company acquired QNX Software Systems and AI-based endpoint security solution Cylance.

Tarun Shome, Product Management Director at BlackBerry IVY, previously shared his thoughts on EV adoption, net zero and range anxiety with EV Magazine.

“Many customers maintain that it’s risky to use an electric car when charging points are few and far between,” says Shome. “Sales could plateau if consumers decide to wait for the infrastructure, leaving us further behind on net zero goals. Manufacturers can help by enhancing in-vehicle connectivity and providing more meaningful insights to drivers in 2024. Then, the vehicles themselves would enable drivers to accurately find their nearest public chargers — along with charging capabilities — or suggest changes in driving style to save power until the next charging point. This is key to reducing range anxiety, which remains the main barrier to mainstream adoption of more sustainable transport.”

Now, the in-vehicle software platform, BlackBerry IVY, lets drivers monetise their vehicle data. Its software-abstract signals enable processing at the edge and support cloud-controlled access to vehicle data.

This allows car makers and software developers to benefit from:

  • Data connectivity savings
  • Quicker development times
  • Optimised data processing using on-vehicle machine learning.

So how does the technology behind Blackberry IVY support off-road driving? 

BlackBerry IVY empowering off-road driving with in-vehicle data processing

According to Shome, off-road driving presents a particular challenge for connected vehicles when heading off-the-beaten track, as this often means driving through remote areas without cellular connectivity. 

However, the Blackberry IVY presents a solution. 

“BlackBerry IVY is an in-vehicle data processing platform. It harnesses the power of data generated by sensors in and around the vehicle to make insights available to apps that provide services to the car, its occupants, the automaker and commercial partners,” he says.

While some apps and services, such as over the air (OTA) updates, need a network connection, others — and many that are exciting for off-road drivers — remain operational without.

“For these, data processing is handled at the vehicle edge. This means the data doesn’t leave the car so their ability to function is not impacted by connectivity – or lack of – to a cellular network,” Shome continues. 

Examples from the IVY ecosystem include Compredict, which uses IVY data to inform predictive car maintenance — such as brake condition — so the vehicle stays safe and reliable. With Michelin, tyre condition, wear and temperature can be monitored. CorrActions and emotion3D use sensor data to monitor the driver’s cognitive state to ensure drivers remain attentive, awake and engaged.

“Using IVY in-car data can also promote safer and more environmentally friendly driving habits, encouraging drivers to be more conscious of how, when and where they drive via insurance incentives, gamification, loyalty features and so on,” he says. “For off-road drivers, this may mean guiding the sport in how it can remain enjoyable and challenging, while reducing its environmental footprint and minimising avoidable risk to health and safety.”

In a word that is increasingly connected, there is a certain freedom in taking the off-road route. With BlackBerry IVY, drivers can drive freely, with a degree of safety.

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