The product has been named Blackberry Jarvis. While Blackberry is initially targeting automakers, the tech could help with many other industries, scanning the complex software behind healthcare, industrial automation, aerospace and military defense projects, for example.
Cars use hundreds of software components often supplied by a widely distributed network of third-party suppliers, making it hard to ensure any flaws are caught before they're built into vehicles. This distributed supply chain offers many advantages while also it increases opportunities for human error that can slow down production cycles and impact overall quality.
In a statement, Chen called the product a "game-changer" for automakers, saying the product provides the "insights and deep learning needed to ... remain a step ahead of bad actors". The same process would normally involve software developers manually scanning through large numbers of files at a much slower rate, the company said.
BlackBerry said it was offering Jarvis on a pay-as-you-go basis. This includes the capability to evaluate new software under consideration as well as the ability to assess existing software already in production. Once scanned, development teams have quick access to the results through user-friendly dashboards with specific warnings and advisories. Note that Jarvis was unveiled just a few days after BlackBerry demoed the latest update to its QNX operating system, also used in the automotive industry, at CES in Las Vegas.
Jarvis can be used on software at any stage of development, including software from third-party developers, according to BlackBerry. Jarvis aims to help automakers with safety backups as they develop software required for self-driving cars.
BlackBerry has started trialing Jarvis with several of the world's largest automakers. "In our independent study, Jarvis delivered excellent efficiencies in time-to-market, significantly reducing the time to security assess code from thirty days to seven minutes", Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said.