Qualcomm to power Volkswagen’s future automated driving technology

Volkswagen Group’s software division looks to global chip giant to supply system-on-chips to enable assisted and automated driving functions

Cariad, Volkswagen Group’s software company, will look to Qualcomm Technologies to supply system-on-chips (SoCs) for its software platform designed to enable assisted and automated driving functions up to Level 4.

Cariad develops automated driving functions up to Level 4 self-driving functionality and the SoCs from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride Platform portfolio will be an intrinsic hardware component in Cariad’s standardised and scalable compute platform, which is targeted for VW vehicles from the middle of the decade.

The selection of Qualcomm, a specialist in the semiconductor industry, is the first of its kind for Cariad, enabling it to define which high-performance computer chips are used for its platform and match them with its own software requirements.

Under the leadership of CEO Herbert Diess, Volkswagen last year presented its New Auto strategy, aimed at leading the group into an autonomous and sustainable mobility future. Going forward, VW says it will span everything from manufacturing and selling vehicles, to producing battery cells and offering energy services, to providing mobility solutions and developing and continuously updating software.

The relationship with Qualcomm Technologies is also regarded as an important step in strengthening Volkswagen’s own competencies in the definition of optimised high-performance semiconductors. Behind this is the conviction that software and hardware must be perfectly matched in order to achieve the best possible performance and efficiency of central computer systems in the long term.

This is especially true for complex functions such as highly automated driving. The company said finding the best balance between scalability, costs and performance was one of its biggest challenges for the design of its new high-performance compute platform.

“The connected and automated car of the future is a high-performance computer on wheels, and behind it lies enormously complex computing power,” said Cariad CEO Dirk Hilgenberg. “With our automated driving solutions, we are striving to let customers take their hands off the steering wheel in the future. Our software and Qualcomm Technologies’ high-performance SoCs are the perfect match to bring this new automotive experience to customers around the world.”

With its high-performance SoCs on board, Qualcomm said Volkswagen will be able to deliver a range of secure and scalable automated driving functions. It said the SoCs from the Snapdragon Ride Platform portfolio are suited optimally to the needs of the software developed by Cariad.

“We look forward to supporting Cariad and its suppliers to deliver scalable and secure automated driving functions for Volkswagen Group vehicles through its selection of our open and programmable Snapdragon Ride Platforms,” said Nakul Duggal, senior vice-president and GM, automotive at Qualcomm Technologies. “As the amount of innovation and complexities increases, strong collaborations such as ours with Cariad are a necessity to not only address aggressive time-to-market goals, but to deliver safe and reliable automated driving experiences for all.”

As it revealed its deal with Cariad, Qualcomm also announced that its Qualcomm AFC (automated frequency coordination) technology was available immediately for integration into customer products, built to deliver enhanced operation across all network deployments using 6GHz operations, including Wi-Fi 6E as well as Wi-Fi 7 and beyond.

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