Apple has hired Dan Dodge, co-founder and former CEO of real-time operating system developer QNX, who retired from BlackBerry only last year.
Apple hopes that Dodge can help to get the company's struggling vehicles project back on track, with a focus on developing autonomous driving technology first.
Bloomberg reported that Dodge was hired secretly by Apple earlier this year in a bid to nail down the software side of the firm's vehicle developments.
The report claimed that Apple aims to complete a car design by 2020, but is focused on developing its own autonomous driving system first, before rolling out a physical vehicle.
Bloomberg cited sources as saying that the project has been mired in confusion in terms of direction, and has suffered technical delays caused in part by several departures of key personnel.
Apple hopes that Dodge's expertise with QNX, which is used widely in the automotive sector, will provide some of the authority and direction the company needs for the car project.
QNX is a Unix-like, microkernel-based operating system. Unlike conventional operating system kernels, which are essentially programs composed of a large number of parts, the QNX kernel is run largely as a number of small tasks or ‘servers', which can be individually switched on or off. This improves performance and efficiency.
QNX runs on a number of microprocessor architectures, including MIPS, PowerPC, Hitachi SH-4 and ARM.
Dodge co-created QNX while a student at the University of Waterloo in Canada in 1980, and a first version was released in 1982. QNX was acquired by BlackBerry in 2010, and Dodge left the company in September 2015.
QNX formed the foundation of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone operating system. BlackBerry 10 failed to catch on, but QNX has continued to prosper as a real-time operating system in the embedded market, and in the automotive sector in particular.
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