Blackberry: unlocking the potential of automotive AI
On 7 January 2019, Blackberry used the CES 2020 platform to announce one of its latest technological developments: AI-powered solutions for vehicle software.
Titled ‘where AI meets the road’ at the Blackberry Booth, the concept links “industry leading QNX technology” - already integrated into 150 million vehicles - with “security and health monitoring capabilities from BlackBerry Cylance”.
Charles Eagan, CTO, was buoyant about the company’s achievements with this synthesis, “This solution represents a major milestone in the company's continued efforts to integrate BlackBerry Cylance's innovative prevention-first, predictive security products with our vast range of industry-leading technologies.”
Cylance is a unique tech solution that uses AI to solve problems before they arise, sometimes as much as 25 months in advance. The software, configured to ‘learn’ and ‘improve’ in perpetuity, is able to predict the patterns of malware and take appropriate action.
Running in tandem with QNX, an embedded system that runs 24/7, the two are able to maintain ‘mission-critical’ systems and keep them functional. “No one knows security better than us,” said Eagan. “We now have a transportation-focused framework that the industry can tap to enhance the security, trustworthiness, and safety of connected vehicles, providing peace of mind to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike."
Top three tech trends in the automotive industry
Wireless EV charging: Wireless technology could be claimed as a hallmark of progressive engineering, particularly where consumers are concerned.
Common examples of consumer-tech, such as smartphones, are already making use of wireless charging, but BMW is taking the conversation further with its announcement of wireless charging pads for cars.
Simply drive over the pad, park, and the car will begin charging. Although only scheduled to be compatible with BMW’s 530e hybrid at present, customers can still get an idea of the pad’s utility: producing a 3.2kW current, the pad is able to fully charge a 530e in approximately three-and-a-half hours.
Advanced cruise control: With self-driving cars starting to gain traction in the market, some manufacturers are choosing to invest in the latest autopilot technology.
Available as a feature on its CT6 luxury sedan, Cadillac won the Autoblog Technology of the Year 2019 award for its innovative ‘Super Cruise’ hands free feature. Controlling acceleration and braking via utilisation of in-vehicle cameras, radar sensors, and GPS navigation, the Super Cruise will even monitor that the driver’s eyes are focused on the road and will disable itself if not.
Virtual hazard mapping: Staying abreast of weather and traffic developments on the road can mean the difference between a smooth ride and a fatal accident.
Where once there was only radio reports, word-of-mouth, or Google Maps to warn you, Nissan announced its development of ‘Invisible-to-Visible’ (I2V) software last year to combat the problem.
I2V uses “a 3D, augmented reality interface that merges the real world and virtual world to make information visible which the driver would not otherwise see”. Nissan hopes that the combination will open limitless possibilities for making driving safer, more convenient, and exciting. Full realisation of I2V is forecast to emerge after 2025, meaning there’s sure to be a lot of interesting developments to come.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
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.