Date
11 January 2020
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Ride autonomous driving computing system is seen in the trunk of a demo car at an event in Las Vegas on Jan 5. Photo: Reuters
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Ride autonomous driving computing system is seen in the trunk of a demo car at an event in Las Vegas on Jan 5. Photo: Reuters

Qualcomm unveils new computing platform for autonomous driving

US-based chipmaker Qualcomm on Monday announced a computing system for autonomous vehicles designed to handle everything from lane controls to full self-driving, Reuters reports.

The system, dubbed Snapdragon Ride, marks the company’s first foray into a full system to power self-driving cars.

It is expected to hit the road by 2023.

Qualcomm, known best as the world’s biggest mobile phone chip supplier, has been a major automotive supplier for more than a decade, but primarily for the modem chips that connect vehicles to the internet and chips for the infotainment systems that power screens inside vehicles.

Patrick Little, the senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm’s automotive business, was quoted as saying that the company is using the expertise it built in the mobile phone processor business developing powerful processors that consume little electricity and generate little heat.

Qualcomm’s new computers can fit in one hand and do not need fans or liquid cooling systems to prevent them from overheating.?

“Many of these cars have a supercomputer in the back. It looks like your kid’s gaming PC,” Little told Reuters in an interview.

“Now imagine you’re putting that in the trunk of an electric vehicle. Now your range anxiety is just doubled.”

Qualcomm has also broken the system into pieces of hardware and software that can be scaled up or down for various needs from automakers.

A smaller version of the computer can be used for simpler tasks like lane-control, or the computers can be chained together for full self-driving.

In other news, General Motors said on Monday that it has expanded its existing partnership with Qualcomm into “high performance compute platforms.”

Qualcomm previously provided chips for GM’s dashboard electronics, location tracking and driver-assistance systems.

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