Qualcomm has always been a part of traditional ICE-powered, as well as modern electric cars. All new cars contain extensive use of electronic components. This includes semiconductor chips, ECUs, relays, etc. Essentially, all the mechanical operations in new cars have been substituted by electronic operations to enhance convenience. At CES 2023, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon Digital Chassis software-defined concept vehicle. It showcases the next generation of mobility and automotive solutions.
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Qualcomm Snapdragon for Electric Cars
There are 4 main components of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Digital Chassis that will cover almost all the areas of modern EVs – Cloud-Connected Platforms for Telematics, Connectivity, Digital Cockpit and Driver Assistance & Autonomy.
Auto Connectivity – This includes functions related to overall connectivity in any modern car like 5G, LTE, C-V2X, WiFi, Bluetooth, MF-GNSS, DSDA and more.
Cockpit Platform – This is perhaps the most practical one of the lot where the drivers will evidently experience certain changes some of which have already arrived in EVs from a select few car marques. This incorporates things like a configurable 3D Digital Cluster, E-Mirrors, 3D Navigation, Natural Language Processing, Streaming Multimedia, Premium Audio and Intelligent UI.
Car-to-Cloud – This is perhaps the most compelling aspect of modern cars where most operations will be accessible via OTA (Over-the-Air) updates pertaining to Device Management, Global Connectivity, Integrated Analysis, Service, Diagnostics and more.
Ride Platform – This is aimed at enhancing the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and Autonomous Driving (AD) functions using the low-power, high-performance SoC (System-on-Chips) for Simulation and Continuous Learning.
All these functions sum up the entire processes of modern cars and a successful firm like Qualcomm is perfectly positioned to leverage its expertise and experience in this field.
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Qualcomm has already partnered with the giants of the automotive industry including GM, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Sony Honda Mobility, Cadillac, Stellantis Group (Peugeot, Fiat, Citroen, Dodge, Maserati and Chrysler) and more. The Digital Chassis envelopes the entire automotive software stack including parking sensors, radar for ADAS, smartphone apps, downloadable upgrades and more. Qualcomm has received support from BMW, Hyundai Motor Group, Nio and Volvo for the new platform.
Additionally, LG Electronics has established technical collaboration with Magna which is a major global automotive parts supplier and assembles cars for companies like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar and Fisker. Magna will develop a proof of concept for automated driver infotainment solutions for differentiated customer experiences.
A more recent example of the Automotive-IT collaboration is the Sony Honda Mobility (SHM). In fact, its EV called Afeela was a major point of attraction at the CES 2023. This concept car even featured Fortnite and Spider-Man gameplay imagery on a digital display above its front bumper. The PS5 game ‘Horizon Forbidden West’ appeared on the rear seat displays of Afeela. Afeela will also use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis system for ADAS, Autonomous Driving, Interfaces and Telematics.
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No Semiconductor Shortage Issue
Finally, no one is unfamiliar with the severe semiconductor shortage issue that has been plaguing the global automotive industry for a while now. The current cars need a dozen different ECUs for various things like display, parking, driver monitoring, audio, speakers, windows, AC, etc. However, with the Digital Chassis, all these will get integrated into a common platform reducing the number of semiconductor chips, thereby, reducing the overall cost. With almost every aspect of EVs becoming electronic, the future would certainly require automotive companies to collaborate with the giants of the IT and Tech industries.
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