At the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, chipmakers presenting advances in automotive technology emerged as a major theme. Sony stunned the world by unveiling an electric car with Level 2 self-driving capability. Intel’s Mobileye subsidiary presented a robust autonomous vehicle kit. Besides, Qualcomm showed off a multifaceted driverless automobile system that will be available for sale in the first half of this year.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Drive Platform
Qualcomm calls its new autonomous operation platform Snapdragon Drive.
The system utilizes advanced automotive processors and accelerators, a host of on-board sensors, and cloud data to function. The corporation built its driverless car system on a series of customizable engine controller units. In addition, it uses global navigation satellites to map and traverse its assigned courses.
Qualcomm’s solution also gathers on-road information via a series of cameras and radar sensors. The manufacture’s solution harnesses the power of its chipsets and software stack to predict the movements of other vehicles.
Also, the company highlighted its platform’s self-cooling features, meaning it doesn’t require expensive and energy-intensive temperature control.
The firm holds that its solution is different than those offered by its competitors due to its scalable nature. Notably, Qualcomm didn’t design its Snapdragon Drive platform just to power driverless vehicles.
Instead, the manufacturer crafted it to serve the demands of automakers in three different ways. The hardware can be configured to act as a high-performance advanced driver assistance program akin to Tesla’s Autopilot. In addition, engineers can use the platform to give their automobiles semiautonomous Level 2+/Level 3 functionality.
Lastly, the component manufacturer claims the Snapdragon Drive system can even deliver Level 4/Level 5 driving automation. As such, Qualcomm believes its system will allow manufacturers to secure full self-driving certification for their cars. But its platform is adaptable enough to enable automakers to market advanced cruise control as a feature in their newest vehicles.
The Snapdragon Drive’s Near-Term Rollout
It’s worth noting Qualcomm didn’t debut its Snapdragon Drive system at CES 2020 as a far off future concept.
The company intends to make its platform available to manufacturers in the first half of this year. Moreover, the firm anticipated automakers would roll out new vehicles featuring its driverless solution by 2023. Indeed, Qualcomm announced both GM and Land Rover would utilize its autonomous vehicle technology in their upcoming automobiles.
Furthermore, the firm’s autonomous vehicle solution has already received a mostly positive review.
Tom’s Hardware saw how the Snapdragon Drive handles on the road firsthand. The publication noted the platform, installed in a Lincoln MKZ, could safely navigate the traffic of Las Vegas’s freeways. However, the site stated the system had a tendency to accelerate and brake abruptly, though during so didn’t put the vehicle’s passengers at risk.
Growing pains aside, Qualcomm’s self-driving system has a lot of promise. Its versatility means that it can appeal to automakers that are still uncertain about deploying autonomous operation technology in their fleets. Moreover, as its chipsets are capable of over 400 trillion operations per second, it can stand toe to toe with the industry’s cutting-edge driverless car systems.