May 19, 2020

BlackBerry and Jaguar Land Rover to develop next-generation vehicles

blackberry
Automotive
AI
Jaguar Land Rover
pauline cameron
3 min
BlackBerry and Jaguar Land Rover to develop next-generation vehicles

Blackberry and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are set to expand their multi-year agreement – signed last year – to develop the next generation of vehicles.

Originally the partnership was formed to develop next-generation infotainment systems but has now grown to encompass new and developing tech. The project will include BlackBerry AI and machine learning for automotive and BlackBerry cybersecurity consulting.

BlackBerry is reticent to give details on exactly which technology would be used and the terms of the agreement, but it did say in a press release on 5 September that “cybersecurity threat protection” and “predictive software maintenance” were being discussed. BlackBerry will license QNX and Certicom technology to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and a team of its engineers will help in the development of Electronic Control Unit (ECU) modules for infotainment systems.

"We are at a pivotal moment, where innovative automakers, such as Jaguar Land Rover, are realising they need to take an active role in defining the software architecture for their vehicles," said John Wall, SVP and GM of BlackBerry QNX, BlackBerry. "Connected and autonomous vehicles will react and drive based on rich data. Our platforms help process data efficiently and keep it secure and trusted. We are incredibly honored to work with Jaguar Land Rover and look forward to our teams working hand in hand to deliver an enhanced driving experience for their customers."

John Chen, Executive Chairman & CEO, BlackBerry said: “BlackBerry is a trusted partner of the automotive industry because of our heritage and innovations in secure communications. We are pleased to be Jaguar Land Rover’s chosen partner for safety-certified technology, as we advance Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies to transform automotive safety.”

Back in July 2019, JLR talked of an industry shift towards self-driving vehicles, specifically focusing their attention on driver wellbeing. Research into AI technology looks to understand a driver’s state of mind by reading facial cues and adjust the cabin settings to improve their experience.

Using driver-facing cameras and biometric sensors to monitor, evaluate and predict a driver’s mood, the software will adjust heating, air conditioning, media and ambient lighting to better suit the driver’s needs. This software will be combined with machine learning technology to learn a driver’s preferences and adjust accordingly.

Dr Steve Iley, JLRChief Medical Officer said, “As we move towards a self-driving future, the emphasis for us remains as much on the driver as it ever has. By taking a holistic approach to the individual driver, and implementing much of what we’ve learnt from the advances in research around personal wellbeing over the last 10 or 15 years, we can make sure our customers remain comfortable, engaged and alert behind the wheel.”

BlackBerry is set to release further information on the budding partnership during the BlackBerry World Tour 2019 starting in Japan on 11 September.

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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