TTWCP-851-02 Tech That Makes Your Tech Work, Grant Courville of QNX: Grant Courville, Director of Product Management of QNX (TTWCP-851-02)

On This Episode…

As director of product management at BlackBerry’s QNX Software Systems, Grant Courville is responsible for managing the company’s global product strategy for the automotive and general embedded markets. He has more than 25 years of experience in the embedded industry, including 20 years with QNX in a wide range of roles, from software development to leadership positions in marketing, professional services, sales, and marketing.

Grant’s QNX experience is complemented by senior roles with Curtiss-Wright Controls and Tilcon Software.


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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.


Grant Courville – QNX

Airing Date: January 30, 2016


Craig Peterson:  Automotive technology has led the way for many years and one of the companies who’s really leading the way in the automotive technology is QNX. Of course that’s how you’ll find them online. QNX is now integrating with the cars in a new way. They’ve got some new advance software that’s gonna make our lives a little bit easier and safer as well. We’re joined right now by Grant Courville. Grant, welcome.

Grant Courville: Thank you. Welcome. Thanks Craig. Good to see you.

Craig: So let’s talk about this. You’re the software that kinda runs the internals of a lot of these systems.

Grant: Absolutely, I mean, I think we’re best known for infotainment and clusters and telematics. And what we’re doing is leveraging our history in mission critical, life critical systems and bringing that in to automotive. First build what would be the foundation for safety systems in automotive.

Craig: Right. And safety of course is very important. And real time is very important

Grant: Absolutely.

Craig: QNX is designed for real time applications. I shake my head looking at half of these automotive systems and wonder what they were thinking. QNX is doing it right. I, a little background here, I’ve done work with QNX. Historically, I’ve. In fact, just in the last 2 weeks, advised a company that makes security systems to move off of an open source operating system over to QNX.

Grant: Oh. Well, thank you for that.

Craig: Yeah. Coz they need some real time features. So, now you’re also now getting your, what is it, the ADAS. The Advance Driver…

Grant: Advance Driver Assist Systems, absolutely. So NITs has defined 5 levels for autonomous drive. And so it’s very evolutionary and what we’re providing are the building blocks for these advance driver assist systems. So you see the early systems for instance, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and what not. And these are all building blocks to autonomous drive. And ADAS is a sort of an umbrella for all of those technologies and at the core of all that is a standard called ISO 26262, which is a safety standard in automotive that we adhere to and that’s the foundation of our platform for ADAS. So to your point safety you absolutely need real time performance. You absolutely need reliability. All of things that are core to us plus the heritage in automotive, being 15 years in automotive and 35 years in real time mission critical systems, all that is definitely in our wheelhouse in something that we absolutely excel at.

Craig: So what is this providing them? What’s the benefit? We talked about some of the features here.

Grant: So ADAS essentially, we’re all hearing about autonomous drive and there’s a number of companies pushing the envelope. I think it’s absolutely fantastic from a technology perspective, from a legislative perspective. What we’ve done is we’ve come up with a platform for ADAS built on 26262 operating system and with that platform you can integrate vision systems so if you think of ADAS, the information that’s required to actually get you to autonomous drive or some of these safety systems you need things like Lidar, radar, ultrasonic sensors, vision systems, heads up displays, vehicle to vehicle communications, vehicle to infrastructure communications. And so that’s part of what we’re showing today. And our platform allows you to integrate vision systems. Allows you to integrate v to v, v to I, v to x communication systems with that vehicle all in a safe manner.

Craig: Well, I’ve seen a lot of reporting too being done on some of the mesh systems that are being proposed for vehicles. You’ve mentioned vehicle to vehicle communication. And as we go forward here now, we’re gonna see that being more and more important. I noticed for instance some of these Google cars were getting into accidents. And the accidents were because the cars were not behaving the way humans expected them to behave. An earlier doctor issue. But once the vehicles can start talking to each other so they know what the behavior is going to be.

Grant: Exactly.

Craig: That’s gonna be important. And there’s nothing that needs real time more than vehicle systems.

Grant: Exactly. And to make these vehicles safe and to reach that level of autonomy, it’s gonna be a combination of all those technologies. The communications between the vehicles. The sensors on the vehicles and one of the big challenges, and you mentioned it earlier, is real time reliability, determinism, all the things that are core to us and be able to bring all of that together and you might start to hear the term sensor fusion for instance. So again that’s something that our platform is absolutely at the foundation of. To be able to make those decisions, provide feedback to the driver and ultimately, to be able to gain active control of the vehicle.

Craig: Very nice future, I think, as we go forward. Are you in some vehicles here? Can you name manufacturers?

Grant: Yeah. As you probably know last year we announced Ford that we’re in. we’re in Audi vehicles, we’re in Toyota vehicles, we’re in Onstar. It’s actually fun to walk around the show because when you look around at the various auto makers, and yeah, we’re there and we’re there. It’s great actually and we’re very thrilled to be part of those vehicles.

Craig: Alright. So if you wanna find out a little bit more, you can go to the website, of course. You’re gonna see more of these safety systems integrated if you’re a developer and you have real time needs, your deterministic needs, that’s the place to go. Check it out. I’ve been recommending QNX for years. They’re doing some great things nowadays. Grant, thanks for being with us today.

Grant: Absolutely. Thanks Craig. My pleasure.