Qualcomm used its keynote this evening to talk up its credentials for connected, electric and self-driving cars, aided by the presence of F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
The presence of Hamilton, along with Paddy Lowe, executive director, technical for Mercedes AMG Petronas, and the team’s winning car from last season, enabled the US tech firm to draw parallels between the world of F1 and everyday driving.
As well as being a sponsor, Qualcomm makes a technical contribution to the Mercedes team. A live telemetry system that collects data from the car now works on a larger scale because of the US firm’s Wi-Fi-based solution.
More data equals a faster decision making process, as the team seeks to reach decisions while the car sits in the pits. Now the data is off the car before it stops; previously it took 20 minutes.
The improvement was confirmed by Hamilton: “In the past we had these long, long waits while they downloaded data. It’s incredible how quick the turnaround is now.”
“If you can optimise then it makes a difference between winning and losing.”
Derek Aberle, Qualcomm’s president, was asked to relate F1 to Qualcomm’s own business: “The environment [F1] can be pretty harsh. If you can make things work there then they can become commercialised over time. A lot of things happening in motorsport eventually make their way into commercial vehicles.”