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Qualcomm to supply chips for self-driving tech in BMW’s future EVs

Qualcomm to supply chips for self-driving tech in BMW’s future EVs
Photo Credit: Reuters
17 Nov, 2021

One of the biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones is turning its attention to the automobile industry. At its Investors Day conference yesterday, Qualcomm announced that it will supply chips for luxury car maker BMW’s next generation driver-assistance and self-driving systems. 

“Our announcement with BMW today is the onset of a new era in automotive where two technology leaders have come together to design and develop a key element of Snapdragon Digital Chassis for the next generation automobile,” said Cristiano Amon, president and CEO of Qualcomm. BMW said that the new chips will be used for its Neue Klasse series of cars, which is a line of electric vehicles built on BMW’s existing designs. The first of these, a BMW 3 Series, will go into production in 2025.

“The Neue Klasse will be characterised by three key aspects: a completely redefined IT and software architecture, a new generation of high-performance electric drivetrains and batteries and a radically new approach to sustainability across the entire vehicle life cycle,” the automaker said in March.

The announcement comes at a time when Qualcomm has dropped market share in the smartphone market to competitor MediaTek. According to a second quarter 2021 report from Counterpoint Research, the company had 24% market share in Q2, 2021, dropping 28% year-over-year. Rival MediaTek had 43% and led the market in that quarter.

The deal will see BMW use the Snapdragon Ride vision system-on-chip for powering vision perception in its cars, automated driver assistance systems (ADAS) and more. BMW will use the dedicated computer vision chip to process data from cameras fitted future vehicles. A central computing chip from the chipmaker will also be used to help the cars communicate with cloud computing data centers.

“BMW has chosen Qualcomm Technologies as our technology partner and systems solutions provider based on the company’s breadth and depth of portfolio, as well as proven expertise in compute, connectivity, computer vision, advanced semiconductors and driver assistance technologies,” said Nicolai Martin, senior vice president (SVP) of Driving Experience at BMW Group.