Chinese search-engine giant Baidu Inc. has selected BlackBerry Ltd. to provide the safety operating system for the Apollo autonomous driving system, which is being developed in co-operation with several vehicle makers.

Shares of BlackBerry climbed higher on Wednesday in the wake of the news. The company's stock shot almost 13 per cent to close at $16.95 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Apollo system is a key part of Baidu's plans for developing driverless cars with Chinese automobile makers such as Chery Automobile, the FAW Group, Changan Automobile and Great Wall Motors.

The companies say BlackBerry's QNX automotive unit has been selected to provide the ASIL-D safety operating system for Apollo, which Baidu has been championing as an open-source technology program.

The companies also plan to integrate Baidu's CarLife software for connecting smartphones and cars, Baidu's DuerOS AI conversational system and the BlackBerry QNX car infotainment platform.

Baidu says it has more than 70 partners in its Apollo program, including vehicle assembly companies, Tier 1 parts suppliers and technology startups.

BlackBerry — which has been repositioning itself as a cybersecurity, software and intellectual property supplier — is also working with many of the automotive industry's major chip makers and parts suppliers.