The Volkswagen Group is taking over BlackBerry’s European research and development (R&D) centre in Bochum (Germany). With the newly founded Volkswagen Infotainment, the Wolfsburg-based automotive group is further expanding its expertise and capabilities in the field of vehicle connectivity. With its objective of interlinking vehicles and the surrounding world, the field of ‘connectivity’ forms a focal point of research and development within the Volkswagen Group, the company said.
Speculation from a few sources came about claiming that approximately two hundred employees were exchanged as a part of this take over. We reached out to BlackBerry and received confirmation of this information:
“In support of our ongoing efforts to return to profitability in FY16, we can confirm that BlackBerry has signed an agreement with AutoVision GmbH, a Volkswagen AG subsidiary, to transfer the R&D assets related to the BlackBerry Product Development Center in Bochum. Subject to the satisfactory completion of information and consultation requirements, approximately two hundred (200) employees will transfer and become employees of AutoVision GmbH. In addition, AutoVision GmbH will assume the related leasing obligations of the offices and laboratories at the Bochum University Center and the Design Support Lab. We are grateful to our employees in Bochum for their commitment and contributions to the many successful products they designed and delivered over the past years and are confident that AutoVision GmbH will provide them with a new exciting working environment.“
BlackBerry has centralized most of its vehicle connectivity development at its QNX Software Systems division in Ottawa.
The Volkswagen Group believes that besides the existing exchange of information between vehicle and mobile devices, such as MP3 players, smartphones and car keys, further forms of communication will become equally established in the near future. Among these are the communication between vehicle and the driver’s home or office, the communication between vehicle and filling stations, parking spaces and road infrastructure (car-to-X communication), and ultimately also from vehicle to vehicle (car-to-car communication). It will be possible in this way to provide drivers with timely information of any hold-ups or obstructions, the group said.