Qualcomm works with 20 automakers around the globe, and 150 million vehicles containing its modems are on the road, according to Nakul Duggal, the company’s senior vice president and general manager of its automotive division.
Although the company’s foray into the auto industry was first premised on its chips, they are not a sole focus now.
“We’re not just focused on the silicon, but everything around the silicon,” he said. “The AI, application stacks, services. The auto industry is changing inside out. The car is changing. The definition of a transportation network is changing. The software that defines the car is changing.”
For Qualcomm, that means advancing its Snapdragon Ride platform, 5G connectivity for V2X connected-vehicle applications, cockpit software, content apps and services and life cycle management.
Among the developments the company rolled out at its showcase:
- An extension and expansion of work with GM. The automaker will use Qualcomm’s third-generation Snapdragon cockpit platform. The companies also teamed to add cellular V2X capability on a Buick model that recently launched in China. Further V2X work around the globe is expected. Also, Qualcomm says it has more contracts for its current-generation system, with the likes of LG Electronics Inc., Google, Panasonic and Visteon.
- Driver-monitoring partnerships. In a boost for driver-assist features, Qualcomm will partner with Seeing Machines, a supplier of driver-monitoring technology. Driver monitoring has been added to European New Car Assessment Program regulations, increasing automaker desire for new solutions. Qualcomm also will partner with Veoneer software unit Arriver.
- Work with Amazon. The Snapdragon cockpit platform will arrive with a “pre-integration” of Amazon Alexa that can be customized for automaker preferences.
The semiconductor shortage rippling through the auto industry certainly has short-term implications, Duggal said. But he anticipates it won’t postpone any of the longer-term plans.
At the onset of the pandemic, “some automakers took the foot off the gas and sent signals that I think really got the auto industry a little bit de-prioritized across various semiconductor suppliers,” Duggal said. “Then as demand for work-from-home applications grew, that’s where the attention was diverted. It was immediate in some cases. And now there is some catching up that is happening. But it is really across the board.”