Qualcomm Unveils 4th-Gen Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform
The car of the future may be more powerful than the computer on your desk – thanks to a tiny silicon chip.
At the company’s “Automotive Redefined: Technology Showcase,” Qualcomm unveiled the fourth generation of its Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit platform, a plug-and-play answer to the question that automakers are grappling with: How to get the most out of modern computers in an ordinary brings car. The latest version of the platform bundles advanced computing, machine learning, computer vision, and a range of sensors into one chip no bigger than a silver dollar.
“We are committed to delivering the industry’s most advanced digital cabin solutions and reinventing the driver, passenger, and rear seat entertainment experience and contextual awareness while managing automakers’ transition to zonal computing through the merging of computers, performance and AI, and safety” said Nakul Duggal, senior vice president & GM, Automotive at Qualcomm.
Qualcomm’s Nakul Duggal shows the 4th generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform.
This chip – the heart of the platform – is made using advanced 5nm process technology, according to Qualcomm, allowing the company to pack more silicon into a smaller package than ever before. But a chip alone does not turn a normal car into a self-driving machine. Miles of network cables are required throughout the vehicle, a number of sensors such as radar, lidar and high-resolution cameras, additional chips throughout the car, etc.
Nevertheless, the brain of tomorrow’s vehicles is the crucial component for the progress of the automotive world. The functions they bring will shape our driving experience of tomorrow. What is supported in the chip?
- Artificial intelligence, not only to control your car, but also to learn and adapt to your preferences. Imagine a car that can recognize how many passengers it has and where they are sitting, and tailor not only the seating positions but also the climate and entertainment to suit their preferences.
- Multimedia galoreThis means support for multiple high resolution screens throughout the vehicle. With the cars of tomorrow, everyone can watch the same show or each passenger can choose their own show.
- Powerful processorsIn particular, the sixth generation Kyro CPU that supports virtualization – a necessary computer function that is used to isolate business-critical systems such as navigation, braking and passenger safety systems from less important systems such as entertainment. In theory, your streaming media can stutter, but your gas never can.
- An augmented reality heads-up display, Taking navigation to a new frontier. Image arrows on the windshield show you which direction to turn, details about the buildings around you or the attractions you are driving past.
- Immersive audio, beyond the million-channel surround sound systems you find in ordinary cars. Qualcomm describes it well: “Personalized multi-audio zones tailored to each user, crystal clear communication in the car, and active noise and echo cancellation with engine and road noise suppression functions.” Yes please!
The platform also supports a variety of other technologies, including the signature alphabet soup of acronyms: the Blackberry QNX real-time operating system, Linux and C-V2X technology, the latest version of a long-standing dream in the world of connected cars. In theory, C-V2X (essentially short for “vehicle to anything communication”) means that your car will talk to the road, street signs, other cars, your house, etc. to ensure seamless and safe driving.
In reality, it will take decades to build the infrastructure to fully support such a system. But it’s a wonderful idea!
Qualcomm said the platform will start production in 2022, but the system’s reference designs will be available to automakers this summer. Look for it in a car cockpit near you soon.