As expected, day one of this year’s CES conference was chock full of announcements related to 5G, from 5G-capable smartphones to connected home devices. Qualcomm Inc., for its part, used its time on the stage to continue its chase after the connected car market.
The company debuted a new Snapdragon automotive cockpit platform on Jan. 7. The technology is used in “infotainment” systems built into vehicles’ dashboards, that allow drivers to navigate, play music and receive safety alerts. Qualcomm said demand for its automotive platforms has grown in the last year, with an order pipeline increasing from $3 billion in January of 2018 to $5.5 billion currently.
Qualcomm’s latest platform includes artificial intelligence, which could be used to power smarter safety features and in-car virtual assistants (for example, Amazon’s Alexa in your car). It also supports camera sensors and computer vision, which can be crowdsourced.
Unlike past versions of its platform, Qualcomm’s latest iteration is divided into three tiers for entry level, mid-tier and super computing platforms. Some of the company’s partners include automotive and electronics manufacturing companies Continental, Denso, Garmin and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
Automakers Audi, Ducati and Ford Motor Co. also showed off the ability for cars to “talk” to each other using Qualcomm’s cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology. Qualcomm unveiled the chipset in September of 2017, which allows for low-latency communications between vehicles, pedestrians and infrastructure, without relying on a cellular network.
“Imagine a person suddenly steps into the street from out of view and your vehicle stops because it was alerted by that person’s smartphone. This is just one example of how C-V2X can connect smart vehicles to a smart world,” Ford Connected Vehicle Executive Director Don Butler said in a news release.
The technology serves as a complement to other types of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) sensors, such as radar, lidar and camera systems.
“As part of Qualcomm Technologies’ ongoing work with Ford, Audi and Ducati, we are excited to continue strengthening our mutual efforts towards accelerating C-V2X’s commercial deployment,” Nakul Duggal, senior vice president of product management for Qualcomm, said in a news release. “This new chapter in our longstanding relationships outlines our collective goal to realize the full potential of C-V2X as a global solution for next-generation vehicle connectivity, safety and autonomy.”