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MotorTrend and BlackBerry Announce SDV Innovator Awards Are Open for Nominations

AUTOMOTIVE / 09.12.23 / Steve Kovsky

Nominations are now open for the second annual MotorTrend Software Defined Vehicle (SDV) Innovator Awards. These awards recognize pioneers and innovators at the core of a global SDV evolution, where software is now at the heart of nearly every function of the car you drive.

Presiding over the awards process is MotorTrend Group Head of Editorial Ed Loh. For carmakers, the move to SDV designs is profound, and exceptionally difficult and disruptive. “They have to go from essentially analog or mechanical processes to really thinking about the digital side and the coding, and everything that goes on the chip, in the cloud, on the sensor side,” Loh says.

“Software has displaced hardware as the most important and valuable component for building cars that deliver an exceptional driving experience,” agrees Neelam Sandhu, Chief Elite Customer Success Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Head of Sustainability, at BlackBerry.  

It makes sense that MotorTrend — which bestows iconic automotive honors such as Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, SUV of the Year — was the one to launch the SDV Innovator awards last year to recognize the remarkable individuals at the forefront of this sweeping trend reshaping the automotive world. And it also makes sense that MotorTrend partnered with BlackBerry to do so. BlackBerry’s QNX real-time operating system (RTOS) already delivers and manages critical software features and experiences in 235 million vehicles on the road today.

“Today’s automotive OEMs are laser-focused on building their SDV roadmaps, underpinned by a safe and secure software foundation,” says BlackBerry’s Sandhu.

Call for Entries: Second Annual SDV Innovator Awards

The inaugural SDV Innovator awards in January 2023 were a resounding success, celebrating the accomplishments of more than a dozen SDV visionaries representing carmakers, also known as original equipment manufacturers, from around the world. In that spirit, "We are thrilled to kick off the second annual Software-Defined Vehicle Innovator Awards,” Loh says. “The automotive industry's ongoing transformation demands recognition of those who are shaping its future through software-driven innovation. We invite automakers and automotive suppliers to submit their outstanding pioneers, leaders, and experts who are propelling this technological revolution."

For those who wish to nominate automotive industry trailblazers, submissions can be made until October 6, 2023.

SDVI Award Categories

Nominations are being accepted for the following categories:

  • Pioneer: This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrably broken new ground within the SDV space through research, development, and application of new automotive software.
  • Leader: This award honors exceptional individuals in senior management positions who are leading teams that transform the automotive industry through the broad adoption and application of software solutions.
  • Expert: This award celebrates subject matter experts within specific SDV disciplines, such as advanced driver assistance systems, digital cockpit, over-the-air updates, autonomous technology, and more.

After an in-depth screening process and diligent analysis of each nomination, the MotorTrend editorial team will select and announce the finalists in November this year. The winners of the awards will be announced in collaboration with BlackBerry, during a private Las Vegas gala during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Jan. 9, 2024.

The BlackBerry and MotorTrend Partnership

MotorTrend’s Loh says he started focusing more closely on the software-defined evolution after attending a Ford-hosted dinner during the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a world-renowned vintage and classic car show held in the Monterey Bay Peninsula in Northern California. Ford CEO Jim Farley shared impassioned descriptions of the role software played in the development of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, and the Mustang Mach-E.

It wasn’t long after this that BlackBerry and MotorTrend experts began to exchange ideas, not just about how SDVs are evolving and their profound effects on the automotive industry, but also about who the key leaders and innovators are in this brave new world.

For the rest of the story, listen to this episode of Get-In, the Software Defined Vehicle Podcast (below):

Nominate the visionaries you know
for the second annual Software-Defined Vehicle Innovator Awards before the Oct. 6, 2023, deadline. Complete MotorTrend’s short questionnaire to tell us about your nominee and perhaps we’ll see you or a colleague in Las Vegas to start the new year.

Watch the Coding the Car documentary and meet the pioneers and leaders who inspired this groundbreaking awards program — in a film created by Warner Bros. Discovery Inc.’s MotorTrend Studios.

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Steve Kovsky

About Steve Kovsky

Steve Kovsky is former Editorial Director at BlackBerry.