BMW drives Qualcomm automotive opportunity - Mobile World Live

BMW drives Qualcomm automotive opportunity

16 NOV 2021

Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon (pictured) highlighted an expanded collaboration with BMW as one example of the US chip company’s roadmap during an investor event in which it reiterated moves involving 5G, PCs and smartphones.

The chipmaker will provide BMW with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) functions, including a dedicated SoC for camera computer vision and a central compute controller handling planning and driving functions.

“Car companies are becoming tech companies”, Amon said during the event, adding vehicles are “going to be connected 100 per cent of the time”.

Amon foresees Qualcomm increasing the presence of its silicon in vehicles ten-times as ADAS starts to take hold. “The Snapdragon digital chassis is our platform for the future of automotive”, he said. “We have an incredible opportunity to scale very fast”.

Qualcomm CTO James Thompson added the company’s driving systems employ AI and semantic segmentation to interpret visual data and enable vehicles to respond to changing conditions.

5G
The CTO predicted wireless ethernet would provide Qualcomm an important opportunity when Release-17 specifications are issued, with Release-18 expected to be about extended reality and AI.

He believes AI will be used to determine network channel conditions, potentially enabling capacity increases of up to 60 per cent.

Thompson touted moves to deliver smartphone silicon beyond connectivity chipsets as benefitting the overall functioning of the devices, a theme Amon continued by talking-up two-year deals with vendors including Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi.

Future business
Amon identified the convergence of mobile devices and PCs, so-called metaverses, wireless fibre, edge compute and Industry 4.0 as key opportunities for Qualcomm.

He noted Snapdragon is enabling next generation laptops while Thompson argued PCs are moving towards a “smartphone architecture”.

In a guest appearance, Microsoft chair and CEO Satya Nadella forecast metaverses offered the potential to create an environment of “ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence”.

Amon touted Snapdragon Spaces, a system for metaverses Qualcomm revealed last week.

Thompson noted Qualcomm systems enabling fixed wireless access are “really taking off for us”, predicting strong demand for mobile alternatives to fibre connectivity.

The CTO also argued edge computing would play a key role in the automotive sector, with vehicles processing information at up to 15GB/s.

“You cannot send all that back to the cloud, plus you do not want to wait”, Thompson said, noting you “cannot afford” any lag in a moving vehicle, meaning “processing has to be done at the edge”.

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Martha DeGrasse

Freelance tech journalist Martha DeGrasse (@mardegrasse) is delighted to be contributing to Mobile World Live. Martha has written for a number of telecom and wireless publications, and was a writer, editor and video producer at RCR Wireless News for almost...

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