Qualcomm partners with Volvo, Honda and Renault in fresh automotive push

Qualcomm's Digital Chassis
Concept image of Qualcomm's digital chassis (Image credit: Qualcomm Technologies)

Mobile chip maker Qualcomm has lifted the lid on its plans to provide hardware and software for future Volvo, Honda and Renault models at CES 2022

The US-based company, which also confirmed it would be developing chips for BMW's self-driving cars towards the end of 2021, took to the trade show floor in Las Vegas to discuss the suite of infotainment and assistance tools now available to the above automakers.

Those tools, dubbed collectively as the Qualcomm Digital Chassis, include Snapdragon Ride, Snapdragon Cockpit, Snapdragon Auto Connectivity and Snapdragon Car-to-Cloud Services. 

Each covers a different technological area – be it driving assistance or multimedia – and the partnered car brands can choose to implement these features collectively or in isolation. 

Volvo, for instance, will implement Qualcomm's Snapdragon Cockpit – software for powering multiple displays and immersive audio systems – in its upcoming fleet of electric cars, including those under the Polestar banner. 

That means vehicles like the Polestar 3 SUV and the Swedish automaker's soon-to-be-released fully electric SUV will boast infotainment systems that are "twice as fast" as their predecessors, with their ability to generate graphics "up to 10 times faster."

Honda will likewise utilize Qualcomm's advanced infotainment technology in cars coming to the US in the second half of 2022, and globally in early 2023. Upcoming models will benefit from improved AI experiences and in-cabin capabilities like blind spot reduction aids, assisted braking notifications and signals for approaching emergency vehicles. 

The Renault Group, meanwhile, will work with Qualcomm to leverage a more inclusive adoption of all the tools available as part of the Snapdragon Digital Chassis.

The infotainment dashboard in future Renault EVs

The infotainment dashboard in future Renault EVs will be powered by Google and Qualcomm (Image credit: Qualcomm)

The implementation of Snapdragon Auto Connectivity, for example, will mean upcoming Renault models are likely to feature market-leading LTE, 5G, Wi-Fi and GPS systems (read: top-of-the-range sat navs).

We already knew Qualcomm and Google have joined hands to supply a key computing chip for the digital dashboard of the next-generation Renault Megane E-TECH, with the in-development Renault 5 EV likely to benefit from the partnership, too.

The future is automated

Perhaps the most interesting tool in the Qualcomm Digital Chassis, though, is the Snapdragon Ride system. 

After Qualcomm's $4.5 billion purchase of automotive technology firm Veoneer last year, the Snapdragon Ride suite now includes a new chip for computer vision which, the company says, is capable of tapping into a car's set of cameras to vastly improve safety features like automatic lane control.

Models developed by automakers making use of this particular tool will also benefit from improved map crowd-sourcing, driver monitoring systems (DMS), parking systems and cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technologies.

There's every chance, then, that the first commercially-viable self-driving car could wear a Volvo, Honda, Renault or BMW badge. 

In any case, CES 2022 has proven to be a promising showcase for a number of emerging automotive technologies – did you know Sony is building an electric car? – and we're excited to see how the industry develops further in the years to come.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.