Qualcomm aims to serve next-generation vehicles with Snapdragon Ride Vision and digital chassis

In the context: Over the past few years, some of the most intriguing events at CES have been about cars. From the information-packed cockpit experience to the promises of assisted and autonomous driving, much of the headlines in the last few shows have focused on the car. In fact, many have argued that the auto industry is emerging as the next big segment of the tech business.

Companies like Intel Mobileye, graphics giant Nvidia and Qualcomm, are using CES 2022 to announce their latest offerings for the auto industry, as well as important new partnerships with automakers and car suppliers.

In the case of Qualcomm, the Snapdragon Ride Vision brings a new level of simplicity and focus for automakers looking to offer safety-oriented, computer vision-based ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) capabilities to a wider range of vehicles, while Snapdragon digital chassis meets the requirements for completeness and flexibility of advanced automotive computing solutions.

The digital chassis provides a platform that can combine Snapdragon Ride-enabled platform and autonomous driving platform, Snapdragon Cockpit for multi-screen infotainment, Snapdragon Auto Connectivity for external 5G and 4G LTE connections, as well as internal WiFi and Bluetooth and Snapdragon Car-to connections. … -Cloud services to enable new features and business models for connected cars.

While Qualcomm has introduced many of these offerings before, Digital Chassis has added software that makes it easy to integrate and interoperate with each other. For automotive companies looking to find a technology partner for a complete, connected, digital automotive experience, a digital chassis looks like an intriguing and potentially compelling option.

Modern cars are extremely complex beasts, and as many automakers and suppliers have learned over the past few years, adding a few offerings of cutting-edge technology to the mix has proven more difficult than many originally thought. Thus, any attempt to simplify the process by “pre-integrating” various components (not only Qualcomm, but also its software partners) can be seen as a positive step forward. This is especially true for new car companies that are taking a modern, integrated approach to vehicle design and manufacturing.

At the same time, auto industry veterans and observers close to it understand that the component-based approach that many traditional automakers’ vehicles are designed and manufactured by can make such a complex solution difficult to operate, despite its potential elegance from a purely technological point of view. …

This is why Qualcomm offers the flexibility by allowing car manufacturers to mix and match different sub-elements of the digital chassis structure so that, for example, an automobile manufacturer can use a Qualcomm ADAS solution but a different vendor’s infotainment solution.

To this end, Qualcomm has also added more open interfaces to its various services as part of its digital chassis effort to provide more customization options. It also allows automakers to, for example, use their own custom stack management software or use software provided by Qualcomm.

In addition, with the expanding capabilities of car-to-cloud service delivery – not to mention more than 20 years of telematics and other solutions for communicating with car manufacturers through a modem business – Qualcomm hopes to create service-driven business models. The idea is to allow automakers to generate post-sale income for things like feature upgrades, new content services, and so on that consumers will pay for, potentially providing a new revenue stream for all parties involved.

As for the partner, Qualcomm recently struck a deal with BMW to use some of the digital chassis capabilities starting in the 2025 model year, and at CES the company announced new efforts with Volvo; and increased collaboration with Honda, Renault, GM, Tier 1 supplier Alps and several Chinese automakers.

Qualcomm also announced its debut Snapdragon Ride Visionwhich is expected to be produced by 2024. Powered by new 4nm Snapdragon SoC technology and Arriver computer vision software partner, Snapdragon Ride Vision is positioned in part as a competitor to Mobileye’s offerings.

It can be used in conjunction with widely available cameras to create a simple yet highly functional system that provides important safety features even in entry-level vehicles. It can also be scaled to provide semi-autonomous Layer 2 and 3 management capabilities when paired with Qualcomm’s existing Snapdragon Drive SoCs and Drive accelerators, as well as additional detection technologies such as radar and lidar.

Solutions like Snapdragon Ride Vision are focused on the key functional safety benefits that consumers really want, such as automatic braking, object detection and avoidance, lane keeping and lane changes, automatic highway driving, driver monitoring, and more.

One issue that is keeping the auto industry from adopting fully autonomous driving technology that has the potential to be a game changer is that many of the earliest efforts that received a lot of attention were essentially trying to boil the ocean. They overstated their promises and missed their targets, and this led to both a significant increase in timelines and a significant revision of expectations for autonomous vehicles.

Even if these early attempts did work, they turned out to be promising opportunities that the vast majority of consumers didn’t even want. On the other hand, solutions like Snapdragon Ride Vision are focused on key functional safety benefits that consumers really want, such as automatic braking, object detection and avoidance, lane keeping and lane changes, automatic highway driving, driver monitoring and etc., they can be scaled up to more practical and technologically realistic levels of autonomous driving for those looking to learn them.

The Snapdragon Ride Vision System offers open APIs through the Snapdragon Ride SDK and gives automakers or their suppliers the ability to customize them according to their unique needs and preferences. This is critical for automakers looking to digitally extend their brand value and uniqueness.

Taken together, the Snapdragon Digital Chassis and Ride Vision offerings underscore Qualcomm’s ongoing efforts in the automotive industry. While many still see the company as mobile-centric, it’s clear that Qualcomm’s vision for mobility extends to a much broader world.

Bob O’Donnell – Founder and Principal Analyst TECHnalysis Research, OOO a technology consulting company that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the high-tech industry and the professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech

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