Qualcomm shifts gear with Car-to-Cloud platform

Over-the-air health checks coming to a cockpit near you

Qualcomm lived up to its pledge to deliver the unexpected at CES 2020 with a series of automotive announcements, including an autonomous driving platform and cloud services platform on wheels.

The American chipmaker’s new autonomous driving system, Snapdragon Ride, is an end-to-end solution for vehicles that equips them to plan trips, shift lanes and make safety decisions under unusual conditions.

Interestingly, the platform offers a range of capabilities along the SAE International self-driving classification scale, depending on how much power the user wants to consume and the corresponding accelerator required.

If a driver is happy with level 2 “hands-off” autonomy, where the system controls accelerating, braking and steering for a still-vigilant driver, the system will use up to 20 times less power than rival systems. Autonomous shuttles, taxis and trucks needing level 4 or 5 autonomy can opt for a power-hungry accelerator instead.

On the hardware side, Ride harnesses a raft of sensors including traditional cameras, radars and lidar, and combines them with C-V2X communications, location awareness and a Snapdragon system-on-chip. Inputs processed via algorithms on Qualcomm’s chip predict vehicle locations and form detailed impressions of vehicle environments and surrounding objects.

“We’ve spent the last several years researching and developing our new autonomous platform and accompanying driving stack, identifying challenges and gathering insights from data analysis to address the complexities automakers want to solve,” said Nakul Duggal, senior vice president, product management at Qualcomm.

The company also used CES to showcase Car-to-Cloud Platform, which allows participating automakers to offer on-demand services to customers before and after a vehicle is purchased. Automakers will also be sent customer usage data, allowing them to target drivers with personalised offers for free trials, upgrades and advanced features, such as health monitoring, Wi-Fi hotspots or advanced safety options.


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