Qualcomm Ventures Into AV Industry With Its New Platform
Mon, April 19, 2021

Qualcomm Ventures Into AV Industry With Its New Platform

Qualcomm has to demonstrate rapid growth to stay competitive in the AV industry / Photo Credit: jejim (via Shutterstock)


The automotive industry is quickly making its way towards full autonomy, wrote Jim McGregor of business news platform Forbes. Mobile technology leader Qualcomm stated a flurry of automotive announcements at CES 2020, including a new AV control platform called the Snapdragon Ride Platform. Qualcomm generates over $600 million each year from automotive communications, telematics, and infotainment systems. But this is the firm’s first time to tap into the command and control systems for automotive. The company first publicly revealed that a platform was under development at CES 2019. 

Qualcomm’s Ride platform comprises application processes and AI accelerators designed to scale from SAE Level 1 for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) to SAE level 5 for full autonomy. It utilizes a domain-based architecture, allowing automakers to “aggregate multiple vehicular domains into one centralized platform.” The Ride platform uses high-speed connectivity from networks based on Ethernet, PCIe, or CAN-DF for communicating between all major systems. It also comes bundled with a complete software stack that supports multiple operating systems, including QNX and Linux, as well as Qualcomm’s own applications. 

Customers like OEMs and Tier 1 automotive electronic suppliers will have the option to customize and add more applications. The Ride platform will be available to lead customers in the first half of 2020 and is slated to be in production vehicles on the road by 2023. According to Qualcomm, the platform can scale from 30 TOPS to over 700 TOPS with dual applications processors and AI accelerators. Qualcomm said most configurations will only require passive cooling. Further, the chipsets and AI accelerators will reach 5.4 TOPS/W, which is “double the performance efficiency of competing solutions.” These numbers will likely increase each year with each new generation. 

Qualcomm is not the first semi-conductor company to venture into the AV industry. However, it has to demonstrate rapid progress, particularly around training and verification to stay competitive in this sector.