Qualcomm is without doubt one of the extra thrilling firms to analysis and write about within the tech house as it’s driving a lot innovation within the smartphone, IoT and automotive house. The firm isn’t new to the automotive house because it has been supplying it for over twenty years. Currently, the corporate has a $10B automotive backlog and in 23 of 26 automobile manufacturers that locations it as one of many prime automotive suppliers. What’s been a little bit quieter was the corporate’s foray into autonomous car (AV) applied sciences and 5G for the automobile expertise.
This week, Qualcomm attended the IAA Mobility convention in Munich, Germany, the place Cristiano Amon gave the keynote on the presence of how 5G and different superior applied sciences will influence the automotive trade. I assumed this was an attention-grabbing matter so let’s check out Amon’s key speaking factors and in addition have a look at what Qualcomm introduced yesterday in partnership with Renault and Google.
A couple of months in the past, Cristiano Amon took over as Qualcomm CEO, and I wrote a chunk on Amon’s imaginative and prescient for Qualcomm as a pacesetter in 5G and cellular SoCs. The IAA keynote was one of many first occasions we had been in a position to hear Cristiano Amon discuss the way forward for the automotive trade, and, I’ve to say, it is rather according to the imaginative and prescient he laid out beforehand. And that’s a great factor, in my view. Referencing that imaginative and prescient will assist us see how the way forward for automotive is being constructed at what Qualcomm calls the Connected Intelligent Edge (CIE).
You can hear extra about Amon’s imaginative and prescient for the Qualcomm future in my interview with him at our Six Five Summit 2021.
5G and the automotive trade
The first step to reaching a CIE is the institution of dependable low latency connections. Amon elegantly identified that the CIE is made doable by the convergence of ultra-fast 5G connectivity, alongside high-performance, low-power computing, and on-device AI applied sciences. 5G additionally permits us to be linked to the cloud on a regular basis, and if 5G is to be as plentiful as electrical energy as Amon mentioned, the automotive trade might be reached by 5G in numerous outdated and new methods.
When I consider the place 5G and telematics suits into the automotive trade, I consider autonomous autos. I’ve mentioned many occasions that I consider that AV might be some of the impactful technological improvements in our lifetimes. Amon’s keynote broke down different areas or subcategories of the automotive trade that 5G will influence deeply, altering the best way we expertise our autos and the way our autos are linked to every part.
5G will assist the automotive manufacturing unit usher in new automobile providers and alter the best way we do upkeep and automobile gross sales. Automotive factories might be linked to the cloud and every part else in order that the manufacturing of a automobile is extra adaptable. Amon expounded on the capabilities of sensible factories that enable for a number of merchandise to be constructed on the identical line. Amon says it’ll change the idea of economies at scale. In different phrases, factories might be adaptable and managed by the cloud for optimum effectivity in factories.
The upkeep of a automobile and the promoting of a automobile might be impacted by the following era of private gadgets, AR glasses that use 5G. Simulation is already occurring inside sellers is a stretch on large shows, so I don’t suppose AR is a stretch. Vehicles might be linked to the cloud and linked to the transportation methods of sensible cities. The connection to the cloud will breed new automaker providers and in-car experiences. These are experiences and transformations are exterior the autos themselves. I feel it’s fascinating that these transformations might be simply as profound because the automobile expertise themselves. I feel Amon hit the nail on the pinnacle when he mentioned that automakers would have a brand new and completely different relationship with prospects.
Changes that occur contained in the car
I’ve written beforehand on Qualcomm being a participant within the automotive electronics enterprise with its telematics, dashboard, and ADAS applied sciences. You can learn right here of its potential acquisition of Veoneer, an automotive ADAS know-how firm. What I need to spotlight from what Amon mentioned concerning the in-car expertise— the “digital cockpit” is the place new automobile experiences come collectively. I consider the expertise that we have now with our smartphones is one thing that we’re mimic within the in-car expertise. We know this to be true as a result of billboards inform us to not textual content or be on our smartphones and drive.
Drivers need to remain linked to their gadgets whereas driving. As the digital cockpit mimics the sensible gadget (additionally suppose AR gadgets of the long run), we start to see applied sciences like: superior navigation, immersive driving experiences with huge screens and AR heads-up shows, excellent graphics, premium audio, and content-specific clever AI. Drivers and passengers can stream movies, music, cloud-based multi-player video games. I think about it’s as when you had been inside a smartphone. If we floor ourselves for a second, what about those that need to “just drive a car” or benefit from the automobile driving expertise? I do not see these experiences hindering this need for essentially the most half, and in some circumstances, I see it enhancing on that have. Keep in thoughts that I can solely say that out of hypothesis, however the futuristic expertise shouldn’t be discounted by what we already discover comfy. If it might, then we must always all likewise nonetheless be utilizing flip “dumb” telephones.
The expertise of driving a automobile immediately entails with the ability to really feel the automobile, management it, and benefit from the environment of the automobile. How a lot of this expertise is enhanced when the automobile’s navigation, the devices, cloud computation, AI, and 5G connectivity of the automobile transfer the motive force to see past what’s within the eye. Amon described the fashionable navigation system as being totally on instructions, with restricted entry to site visitors reporting. The navigation expertise of the long run will comprise richer and extra fuller interactions with the environment of the automobile and the motive force. Vehicles will talk with different autos, pedestrians, infrastructure, sensible cities and provides the person an immersive expertise the place every part is taken into account. As talked about earlier than, AI could have its hand on this to maintain from an amazing immersive overload.
The autonomy of autos might be past the driving of the car. A automobile will be capable to talk with every part round it autonomously. It will be capable to discuss to site visitors indicators and inform you on the identical time about different automobiles within the neighborhood. As the automobile autonomously digesting details about the sunshine, it concurrently tells you concerning the automobile that’s about to run the identical mild. The car is navigating by means of not solely site visitors however by means of the linked cloud.
The Digital Chassis of the automotive future
Amon went on to introduce the digital chassis of the long run. The Snapdragon Digital Chassis is a complete set of know-how options that enable automakers and Tier-1s to construct linked and clever autos. These applied sciences of the long run—car-to-cloud, ADAS/autonomous driving, digital cockpit, superior telematics—will all be interoperable and linked. Amon would not describe these applied sciences as separate applied sciences however relatively as one structure or system. We can get a peek at what this technique seems like from when Qualcomm was at its Automotive Redefined occasion earlier within the yr. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Chassis consists of its Car-to-Cloud , Snapdragon Ride , and Automotive Cockpit platforms, in addition to its Snapdragon Automotive 4G or 5G modem. Amon highlights the strengths of this platform, being its interoperable, open, upgradeable, and that permits innovation to occur on the ecosystem degree.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis is complete sufficient to permit for the adoption of legacy automobile improvements and the mixing of latest and consolidating applied sciences. I say this realizing that Qualcomm has been concerned within the automotive trade for a few years whereas at present working with 23 of the main 26 automobile manufacturers. As I discussed earlier than, there are numerous parallels between the expertise of a sensible gadget and a sensible automobile. Qualcomm has essentially the most mixed smartphone-automotive expertise of any enterprise. In different phrases, Qualcomm doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel however relatively combine the wheel with the always-connected, immersive, and private expertise of a smartphone. Just as we improve our smartphones, Amon envisions the identical sort of upgradeable know-how to be inherent to the sensible automobile expertise.
I had the possibility to meet up with Qualcomm’s SVP and GM of the automotive enterprise, Nakul Duggal, the place we talked concerning the Digital Chassis. You can see the interview beneath.
Google and Renault
Qualcomm introduced on the present that it partnered with Renault Group and Google to energy the next-generation infotainment system in Renault’s new electrical car, the Mégane E-TECH Electric. It makes use of Qualcomm’s threerd era Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit platforms. Qualcomm introduced its fourthera Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit platform at Automotive redefined earlier this yr and that its threerdGeneration Automotive Cockpit platform is offered for purchasers. I’m all for seeing how simply Qualcomm and Renault made the brand new car to be upgraded to the fourth era afterward down the road. The integration of the threerd era is part of Qualcomm’s acceleration of the platform all through 2021.
The platform comes with Android Automotive Operating System (AAOS) that features Google apps and providers. Google Maps have at all times been the gold commonplace for GPS maps, and I feel having Google and Android in some type or trend was a no brainer. The new car additionally has massive portrait-sized touchscreens. When evaluating the within of the automobile and automobiles from Amon’s keynote, there’s a noticeable distinction in immersive shows. Although we might need the whole immersive expertise with huge multi-display cockpits, the gradual introduction of huge shows in a car is the play. I feel that is very true contemplating the autonomy of autos is just not at a degree the place drivers may be distracted.
In my follow-up dialog with Duggal talked extra about this attention-grabbing tie-up. You can discover that interview right here.
After over 20 years of automotive electronics expertise, Qualcomm nonetheless doesn’t get loads of credit score for what it brings to the desk within the house even with a $10B backlog and being in 23 of 26 auto manufacturers. Part of that purpose is that Qualcomm is so profitable in smartphones it’s laborious to get credit score for anything.
Part of getting that credit score shifting ahead is diversifying the enterprise throughout the three pillars of automotive, IoT and, sure, smartphones. The firm only recently broke out the enterprise between its modems, RFFE, IoT and automotive. So, test. The different half is speaking extra about its auto prowess, which is strictly what Qualcomm CEO did at IAA Mobility 2021.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this text.
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