Cristiano Amon spoke on Day 0 of CES, Media Day, where he covered many topics, including 5G, partnerships, Arm computers, the mobile platform, and its automotive platform. Although I will not be covering all of those categories and will be focusing on automotive, there is a lot of blending together in these categories. Amon had the first live keynote of the entire CES program and was heartwarming to have a real, live event.
If you have been following Qualcomm for the past couple of years and even recently, you will know that Qualcomm is moving quickly in the automotive industry. As Amon said in his keynote. The automotive industry itself is one of the most mature industries in terms of platform development and integration. With Qualcomm’s position in the mobile computing space and 5G, Qualcomm can strategically position itself at the right moment and time because of its experience and positioning in 5G and mobile devices (smartphones). Like smartphones, automotive electronics are a systems problem, require scale and leveraged R&D to actually make money doing it.
Qualcomm announced many new and extending automotive partnerships and a new addition to the Snapdragon Ride Platform, the Snapdragon Ride Vision System. This past November, I attended Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, where Qualcomm announced its next flagship SoC and its partnership with Cadillac to include Qulacomm’s Digital Chassis in its Cadillac Lyriq. Before that, Qualcomm announced the expansion of its relationship with BMW Group related to ADAS at its Investor Day. It is no surprise to me that Qualcomm is announcing more partnerships at CES 2022. Qualcomm’s strategic partnerships should not only help Qualcomm in the long run but also spur innovation in the Automotive industry. Qualcomm announced new and extending partnerships with Automotive companies Volvo, Renault group, Honda, Alps Alpine, Desay SV, and more. Let’s take a look at what Qualcomm announced at CES 2022.
Qualcomm’s Digital Cockpit
Qualcomm also announced that it would be partnering with Volvo Car Group to enhance Volvo’s infotainment systems in its upcoming fully electric cars with 3rdGeneration Snapdragon Cockpit Platforms. The Snapdragon Volvo says its 3rdgeneration Snapdragon Cockpit Platform with be available in the Volvo and Polestar brands and, alongside Volvo Car Group and Google, have implemented a roadmap to bring scalable value and improved performance to Volvo customers. Qualcomm has designed its Digital Cockpit Platform to be open and scalable so that automakers can customize the in-car experience to customers’ needs.
Qualcomm aligns with Volvo Car Group’s ambitions to become a fully electric car company and leader in the premium car segment by 2030. I see Volvo’s adoption of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Cockpit Platform as the first of Qualcomm’s complete Digital Chassis. Out of the entire Digital Chassis portfolio, the Snapdragon Digital Cockpit Platform is the most familiar of the bunch for automakers considering every car already has some form of infotainment implemented. The trend of Qualcomm starting with its Snapdragon Digital Cockpit Platform and warming partners up to its full Digital Chassis is a trend I plan on seeing from now on.
Likewise, Honda is extending its partnership with Qualcomm, providing its 3rdGeneration Snapdragon Digital Cockpit Platform. Qualcomm says Honda vehicles that feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Cockpit Platform will be commercially available in the US beginning in the second half of 2022 and globally in 2023.
Turning a different direction, Qualcomm is partnering with Alps Alpine to enhance the digital cabin experience. Qualcomm says the Digital Cabin uses High-Performance Reference Architecture (HRPA), Alps Alpine’s integrated electronic control unit (ECU) that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Cockpit Platforms power. Qualcomm says HRPA performs software processing for the digital cabin via a human-machine interface. Alps Alpines’ HRPA allows for safer and more comfortable entertainment solutions like e-mirrors that reduce blind spots, I/O devices built into the door trims, a large ceiling display, and individual sound zones per seat. I think the key to these infotainment experiences is not to let safety play the second chair. Alp Alpine’s HRPA takes the right approach to safety and comfortability.
Qualcomm is also partnering with Desay SV to produce Desay SV’s 4th Generation Intelligent Cabin System on Qualcomm’s 4th Generation Snapdragon Cockpit Platforms. Qualcomm says it will feature high-performance compute, an AI engine, multi-sensor processing, and network connectivity capabilities. Qualcomm says Desay SV’s 4thGeneration Intelligent Cabin system can support advanced technologies like multi-screen synergy, audio processing, and AR while addressing compute, performance, and functional safety needs.
Qualcomm has also extended its collaboration with Renault Group to transform automotive experiences digitally. Qualcomm says it aims to build a next-generation architecture that focuses on extensible and flexible vehicle architectures to address consumer and enterprise expectations. Renault is in alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors and plans on leveraging the Snapdragon Digital Chassis in Renault vehicles.
Snapdragon Ride Vision System
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride Vision System is Qualcomm’s newest addition to the Snapdragon Ride Platform for support of front, rear, and surround cameras for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride Vision System is built on the only “4nm” ADAS SoC. Qualcomm says Snapdragon Ride Vision System has a new open, scalable, and modular computer vision software stack from Arriver. The Ride Vision System can be scaled down to a single camera in the front to the front, rear, and surround cameras of the vehicle for premium vehicles. It uses Qualcomm’s purpose-built, high-performance Snapdragon Ride SoCs to see and compute while driving.
We could see a repeat of history for Qualcomm in the same way it has seriously accelerated 5G technology and smartphones through strategic partnerships, and I believe the digitization of the automotive industry will come quicker than we expect. What’s even more impressive for Qualcomm is how organic its automotive play is coming from the mobile devices space. Qualcomm’s new partnerships with Volvo and Honda join an increasing list of automakers who understand the automotive industry's digital revolution.
Other partnerships like Arriver, Desay SV, Alps Alpine, and Renault spark innovation, and Qualcomm is full of them. Lastly, I am excited that Qualcomm could give dates and times to see these technologies become commercially available because it shows how much of a reality ADAS and AD have become.
Qualcomm’s CES 2022 announcements are proof positive that it continues to be a major player in automotive electronics. Starting in telematics decades ago and then storming the cockpit, now it is signing major ADAS deals with many of the largest and most respected automakers. Scale, R&D leverage, systems approach and staying power matter in automotive electronics and that is a good thing for Qualcomm.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.